Colin Farrell truly sank his teeth into his latest role. Considering Farrell is playing the vampire Jerry in the remake of Fright Night, that is a good thing on so many levels.
The Irish actor recently sat down to discuss bringing a 1980s favorite back to life in the new millennia and how, in so many ways, Jerry’s Las Vegas suburban vampire was unlike any role he has ever tackled.
Fresh from his scene-stealing role in Horrible Bosses, Farrell is having quite a summer. He kills it in Fright Night as he did going head-to-head in the comedy department with Jason Sudeikis in Bosses.
Movie Fanatic: Were movie vampires something you were a fan of coming up?
Colin Farrell: The first Fright Night, I loved it. The Lost Boys, Near Dark, Interview with a Vampire and the many incarnations of Dracula like Coppola’s Dracula with Gary Oldman — they were all in my collective imagination and informed, in some way, what I did with Jerry. There were so many vampire films I saw as a kid.
Movie Fanatic: How did wearing fake teeth, black contacts and prosthetics affect your performance? Did it help or hinder?
Colin Farrell: It really helped my performance [laughs]. It really did help. I’m a sucker for all things practical, I really am. It’s very powerful when you put something over your face and you just have your eyes to work with. There was some CGI done on Fright Night, but any time the practical make-up was on, it really does help me. It’s kind of like mask work as well. It kind of liberates you, in a really scary way as well. I’m doing a film now (the Total Recall remake) and there’s a lot of green screen in it, but the green screen is 40 yards away in the background to create this world of incredible grandiosity and detail. But, the world I’m in, 40 yards in front of it, is a practical set that’s been built by amazing craftsmen. It’s not like I’m working with a tennis ball as Jar Jar Binks or anything [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: What a summer you’re having with Horrible Bosses and now Fright Night. How was it for you as a performer going from one to the other?
Colin Farrell: They were so extremely different from who I am. It was fun. Both were flick-a-switch characters. It was like there were these shadows created and it was step into the shadow and out of it and go home. I didn’t end up bringing the work home because there wasn’t as much emotional resonance. The parts that are much more dramatic are the parts that tend to echo into the evening and night and into your sleep. Horrible Bosses was only a five-day shoot. I wanted to mix it up. So it was time to go have a laugh with both these films..
Movie Fanatic: Was it difficult to find the character of Jerry for you in relation to other parts you have played?
Colin Farrell: Yeah, I was trying to imagine a world where you are completely severed from your basic human virtues and characteristics like fear, remorse, compassion, hope, love. All those ideas were things that Jerry understood objectively, having been a human once. Being an observer of human behavior over a matter of centuries, it really was committing to the idea that this was a vampire who had no human feelings at all. If anything, he had disdain for human beings. Inevitably, that brings him down. In some ways it was liberating to play.