Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Christopher Mintz-Plasse about his scary new film Fright Night. The young actor spoke freely with me about the movie, the 80s horror classic it is based on, pleasing fans of the original, what he generally thinks about remakes, his character, playing a vampire, and the great Chris Sarandon. Here is what he had to say:
To begin with, what was your level of familiarity with the original Fright Night before making this one? Had you already seen it, and if not, did you decide to go back and watch it before you began shooting?
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: I wasn't aware of it when I got the script. I immediately saw that it was a remake of a 1985 vampire movie so I was kind of skeptical already because I'm not really one to enjoy remakes. I know vampire movies have been done millions of times so I was kind of skeptical at first. But then I read the script and I thought it was fantastic and the role they wanted me to play, if done properly, could be a very important role in the movie so I wanted to bring justice to that. Then I went out and bought the original after I got the part and I thought it was a perfect movie to remake.
Can you talk about when you first read the script, what was it that you liked about the story that made you think this movie would stand out from some of the other vampire films that we’ve seen lately?
Mintz-Plasse: What I loved about it was … you know vampire movies lately, pretty much Twilight, they're not like your typical vampires anymore. They're not scary. You're not going to see this movie to get scared. You're kind of going to feel romantic. I miss the old school vampires like Dracula or Nosferatu. When it was just one scary vampire terrorizing one person. When I read the script, I love that it was R, it was bloody, and people are slaying left and right. It was just this one predator hunting down this one kid so it was more intimate and scary that way. I hadn't seen a vampire movie like that in a while so I wanted it to be a part of that.
When you first met with director Craig Gillespie to discuss the project, what did he tell you about his vision for the film and the tone that he wanted to set for the movie?
Mintz-Plasse: He wanted to make sure obviously that it's scary, but he really wanted to hit the comedic tone as well. The original was scary but it was also funny and had these campy, cheesy aspects to it. Craig really wanted to keep those campy, funny moments in this one as well but just modernize it. I saw Lars and the Real Girl and I knew that he got incredible performances from (Ryan) Gosling and all the other actors. This role challenged me because it’s a funny role, but he's also kind of depressed and lonely, and I haven't done before. But I knew after watching Craig’s work; that he'd be able to get a good performance out of me.
While “Evil” Ed is similar to characters you’ve played in the past, he’s much darker, and more depressed than anything that you’ve done before, so was it refreshing as an actor to get to play with a larger range of emotions?
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah. I mean he is a nerd, which I've played in other movies. But the other nerds I've played have been more loudmouthed and then this guy is just very depressed. He's got no best friends, no friend at all actually. So it's cool to tone it down and play that kind of character.
Can you talk about the relationship between Ed and Charley, and why Ed feels betrayed by his former friend?
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah, Ed still loves all the sci-fi and the nerdy things and Charley's growing up. He's got a girlfriend now and he's hanging out with the cool kids, so yeah Ed feels really betrayed and hurt.
It’s really that betrayal by Charlie that turns Ed into “Evil” Ed isn’t it?
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah of course, well that was Marti Noxon, the screenwriter and she did a great job. In the original they were just friends. Sometimes they'd argue and sometimes they'd laugh too, but you never really understood the relationship too much. So in this one she wanted to just get it right off the bat that Charley's growing up and I'm still staying the same. In the opening scene I lose one of my other best friends at about ten minutes into the movie. Then you see Charley drifting away from me. That's when Colin Farrell comes up to me in the pool and gives me this awesome monologue saying how I don't belong anywhere, how I don't love anymore and that I'd be accepted as a vampire. It's a great monologue, and a great turn.
It seems like a rite of passage for an actor to play a vampire on screen, what was the experience like for you?
Mintz-Plasse: It was cool man. The makeup looks incredible. Howard Berger who works at K&B they're the best, it just looked fucking beautiful. It was a pain in the ass to wear. It was four hours a day in the makeup chair and one hour a night to get it off, but it looks freaking great man. I keep saying like half the acting, while I was doing the vampire stuff was the make-up. You know, you’re in that make-up for twelve hours a day and when you come out, you feel a little bit like a vampire. You're wearing those contacts and those fangs and you really get into the character.
Actor Chris Sarandon, who played Colin Farrell’s role in the original, has a really great cameo in the new movie. Were you excited when you heard he was going to be in it and do you think his appearance adds a certain credibility to the film?
Mintz-Plasse: Dude yeah, we needed that. We had Tom Holland and Chris Sarandon giving their okay over remaking their movie. Chris read the script and loved it. He came down to Comic-Con with us and did a bunch of promotion, which was very sweet of him. I think that was definitely very cool. I think that cameo is really going be great for the fans of the original. It’s pretty stupid but I know that people hate that we are remaking it, so if they go see it they're going to love that scene.
Finally, to follow up on what you just said, does that ever concern you? When you are doing a remake like this are you worried about trying to please the fans of the original, or do you just set out to make your own movie and hope that it will find a new audience?
Mintz-Plasse: I mean I know we're going to find a new audience because it's very modernized and people love Anton, Colin, and Craig so they’ll want to go see this movie. Plus the commercials and the trailers are freaking great. But when they first announced that we were doing this I knew right off the bat that people were just going to hate it. “You know they're remaking my favorite movie, no! They're ruining Hollywood!” I kind of like that though. I like the challenge. I like that there's people out there that just know they're going to hate it. I know the movie is awesome and I know that it's great. So I want them to go see it. I want to prove them wrong. I want them to enjoy it.
To read what Christopher Mintz-Plasse has to say about a possible sequel to Fright Night, and Kick-Ass, please click here.
To read what screenwriter Marti Noxon had to say about working on Fright Night, Mad Men, and more, please click here.
To watch our exclusive interviews with the cast and crew of Fright Night, please click here.
Fright Night begins frightening audiences today!