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You may have already read my interview with Colin Farrell, in which he admits that before he could take on the iconic vampire role in Fright Night, he had to get over the fact that legions of fans would immediately hate the fact that the movie was being remade. As it turns out, he could have asked for some advice from his co-star, Anton Yelchin, who already revived two very iconic pop culture characters as both Kyle Reese in Terminator: Salvation and Chekov in Star Trek. In Fright Night Yelchin is playing Charley, the high school student role originated by William Ragsdale in the first film, who starts to suspect that his next door neighbor Jerry is a vampire.
But as Yelchin pointed out in my roundtable interview with him, Charley's entire arc in the new Fright Night is different-- and that was a sign of what he thought was a remake worth making. Below check out the rest of the interview, in which he talks about the "enlightened" choice of Craig Gillespie as a director, why Jerry being a scary vampire is so important, and how awesome it is to get to use a crossbow. Fright Night opens this Friday.
You've starred in several remakes or reboots at this point, including Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation. Have you had to get over worrying about people not accepting your version of the character?
With other things, like with Terminator, it was like, I get this character, I've loved this shit since I was a little kid. With this, the script really-- it's a re-imagining. Then I really think Craig is an interesting filmmaker, and I thought that was an enlightened choice to make this movie. It said something about where we were going with it. The script to me maintained the fundamental elements and the humor and the horror. The most important thing about Fright Night to me is that Jerry is dangerous and scary, and that motivates the whole story. If you take that out of the equation, if Jerry is just a Twilight vampire, then you don't give a shit, it becomes the same vampire shit. But here he's a monster in the traditional sense of monster movies. Levels of camp and levels of self-consciousness can be modulated based on what you're trying to achieve. But I felt there was something solid there.
What did you bring to the role that was distinctly yours?
Starting off with the fact that Ed comes to Charley instead of Charley coming to Ed, ti's already a different character arc. Marti [Noxon, the screenwriter] was aware that even in the last 25 years, there is a greater flow of information. The original Fright Night was about what is happening to the horror genre. Now it's how well-versed in all the facets of the horror genre is a suburban teenager. It was already a different trajectory for the character.
How did you learn to work with the different anti-vampire weapons in the movie?
The propmaster Ben [Lowney] is a really cool guy, a really imaginative guy. He loves little intricate things on guns. And once you hold a fucking crossbow, you're like "I'm going vampire hunting." There's no other thing I could be doing with this thing. It was tedious, the whole end suit, but there were so many details. Once you're in that, you can't really get out of it. Vampire hunting in the vampire genre is most associated with certain signifiers-- the stake, the cross, the coffin. When you're in that realm, you're just there. There's no other place that you can go. You're in that universe.
Does this kind of thing make you wish you were a superhero?
On a purely superficial level… You also feel like a little kid. When I was a little kid I would make things out of the rolls in paper towels, and that would be the gun. suddenly someone just gives you a cool gun to run around with. They had the great flashlight on top of the gun. They made it believable that Charley had bought all this shit. You went to the store and taped the flashlight on the gun. Everything felt like a kid had done this, but a kid who was really going to hunt vampires.
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