david tennant David Tennant & Director Craig Gillespie Interview For Fright Night

Senior Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) finally has it all going on: he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the most coveted girl in his high school, Amy (Imogen Poots). In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend. But trouble arrives when Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right—but everyone, including Charlie’s mom (Toni Collette), doesn’t notice. After observing some very strange activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on the neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic. David Tennant plays stage-magician-turned-vamp-fighter Peter Vincent. Director by Craig Gillespie, ‘Fright Night’ hits cinemas August 19th in the US, and September 2nd in the UK.

Your version of Peter Vincent is slightly different from the original…

David Tennant: Yeah, my version of Peter Vincent is rather different, he’s an illusionist, with a show at the Hard Rock in Vegas. He’s quite a celebrity, I think he’s seen slightly better days than when we finally meet him in the film. He’s not quite at the top of his game but he’s not quite hit rock bottom just yet – at least not in his professional life, in his personal life things are a bit bleak (laughs).

His situation is larger than life already, in that he’s on stage at the Hard Rock doing this show that is slightly preposterous, and yet absolutely rooted in the kind of things you might see if you went to see a magic show in Las Vegas. It’s great to get to play a character that has that scope, and does things that are as extreme and unusual as that. Even the clothes you get to wear. The world that this man lives in. This rather pampered and exclusive existence he lives in, in this Penthouse at the top of the Hard Rock Hotel.

There’s a great mix of horror and humour in this film. How important was it for you to change the tone of this and make it less campy?

Craig Gillespie: The tone was in Marti Noxon’s script. There were a couple of traces there, she had this great mix of the horror, the thriller and the action set pieces, but then there’s humour peppered in there. From the beginning, I always said to the studio, ‘You know, I want this to be scary first, and then we’ll have humour secondary.’ That was always the predominant thing, and then from there, we would use the humour just to give it a break and diffuse the situation, and then get right back into it. Just having that opportunity to mix that tone was what was fun for me.

Jerry was always somebody that put that tension on screen, and then we have the humour that you need to break that, every once in awhile. As much as Christopher Mintz-Plasse and David Tennant are very funny, their characters were always coming from a very real place. Everybody was really in that reality of what was going on. We have a great balance.

craig gillespie fright night set image 1 David Tennant & Director Craig Gillespie Interview For Fright Night

David Tennant: We don’t shy away from the big scary horror movie moments, they’re all in there. But there’s also fun about it, and knowingness about it, at times. Without deconstructing what is essentially still an exciting horror film.

When you think about horror films and vampire mythology, how did you update this film?

Craig Gillespie: When I was growing up, one of my favourite horror films that I saw 6 times the first weekend was ‘An American Werewolf in London.’ Back in the 80’s they just seemed to have this way of mixing the horror and the humour. For some reason, over the last 20 years, it’s grown to be either horror or comedy, and no meshing where you can actually be on the edge of your seat and then have a good laugh. That’s what attracted me to this film.

With all the vampires in film and television, Jerry definitely stands out…

Craig Gillespie: That’s what was exciting about the script right off the bat. This guy is truly a horrifying character. We really tried to come from that grounded place where we treat him a little bit more like he is this pathological serial killer. He’s been living in this environment for 400 years and he’s got to feed on human blood. How does he go about keeping people and not being detected? On top of that, he’s got this charm and charisma that seduces people, but at the end of the day, he’s detached from emotion.

You’re going from vampire to zombies, with ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies‘?

Craig Gillespie: It was just the script. I always respond to the script, personally. I wasn’t looking to do that again. It got sent to me and I kind of reluctantly picked it up. I just love mixing tones. It’s got humour and horror, but it’s a completely different style of humour than this in ‘Pride and Prejudice.’