Fright Night Interview with Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Interview by: Caroline Foran
Fright Night is a hugely entertaining movie that compliments perfectly the cheesy but much loved 1985 original. Hitting theatres today, despite a disappointing box office opening in the States, this vampire flick has struck gold among critics. Between a guest appearance at the Irish Premiere and tonight's slot on the Late Late, I had the honour of spending time in the company of Fright Night's Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse - known to many as McLovin. Despite what I can only imagine were two thumping headaches courtesy of a trip to The Wright Venue, the lads were in flying form, bantering between themselves like an old married couple as we spoke about fight scenes, remakes, and Funny or Die.
Once we stopped debating about the fact that if you have to add mixer to Guinness and whiskey then you really shouldn't be drinking it, we got down to bid'ness. Horror remakes on the whole tend to fall short of the mark, (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street) but this one's up there with the best of them. Did they expect Fright Night to follow in the footsteps of say, Dawn Of The Dead or Let Me In?
Chris: 'Man, I love Dawn of the Dead. It's hard to know straight away if a movie is going to do well but when I got on board everyone else was already attached. There was David Tennant and Anton and Colin (Farrell) and Toni Collette and I was like 'oh well they've all done great work in the past so there's no reason why they would attach themselves to a sh*tty script' which of course it wasn't and that was one of the main reasons too: the script was scary and funny and I just wanted to be a part of it.'
Funny and scary it is indeed. A terrifying Colin Farrell gave me such a fright at one point that I smacked myself in the face, jamming my 3D glasses into my nose and giving myself a teeny tiny bruise. Was it difficult finding that balance between comedy and horror?
Anton: 'I think it's Craig (Gillespie) really. It was the director's skill on that.'
Chris: 'He knew with casting this guy (Anton) and casting Colin that you'd get the dramatic pauses and the scares and then with the casting of David Tennant and hopefully myself you'd get some laughs in there but you know he's just a fantastic director, he just knew how to work it. He'd be like 'Chris just stop going so f*cking crazy and tone it down.'
In the movie Chris dons some pretty convincing vampire make up, although you wouldn't describe him as in any way scary - think McLovin with one arm and a bad case of glandular fever. 'Yea it was fun to be in the vampire stuff but getting it on was kind of pain in the ass. It was 4 hours every morning with cold glue dripping all over your face and when you get it off you feel like (he demonstrates emphatically) you're losing your face and it's sliding off but yea, it looks fantastic.'
The original Fright Night garnered somewhat of a cult following upon its release in 1985, though cheesy and very 80's, some might say it hasn't aged too well. Are these the kinds of movies that should be remade?
Chris: 'I don't know that it needed to be remade. I think it was just a really good story, the idea that there's this one evil brooding vampire next door to this one helpless kid. It's a great idea that was done so well in the 80s and, not that it wouldn't do well now but yea, that film was very 80's so we wanted to bring it to now. There were so many people like myself that would never have heard of the original or wouldn't have seen it and now they get to see their own version of Fright Night.'
In terms of the big action sequences, this move was a first for Craig Gillespie (Lars And The Real Girl). How was it working with him on those scenes?
Anton: 'Yea it was fun. There was a shot that Craig was really specific about, the 360 car chase. Craig approaches everything from the point of view that you never leave the realm of what your character is and what you're doing in terms of all those sequences so it was like 'OK we're going to just blow some sh*t up' and it was just crazy.'
Chris: 'It wasn't a green screen? I was always so curious about that.' Anton: 'No we were in this van and there was a crane with a camera that would come in and out of different parts of the van. I would slide that way as the camera came in here (he thrashes about the couch for a bit) and as it went that way I would then slide back in.' Chris: 'That is awesome dude.'
So you did a lot of your own stunts then?
Anton: 'Well there was a stunt double I worked with... an extremely good guy at what he does. (He pipes up) I hate it when actors say 'I do all my own stunts'. 'No you f*cking don’t!' There's insurance companies behind this! 'And there's people that are better at doing that than you!' These people have dedicated their lives to do stunt work and they're good at it. They're fun to watch. I like to give them the credit they deserve.'
Chris: 'Well you did like 60% of your stunts, right?' Anton: 'I did a lot yea. Like our fight, that was pretty much all us.' That must have been fun?
Chris: 'It was pretty much us, but not all though' (he warns me.) 'Our last fight scene with each other was a lot of fun. We rehearsed it 2 months before we shot it. We were just in a gym flying around with wires and playing with fake weapons.'
Brimming with some of the biggest names in the industry - Colin Farrell, Toni Collette and of course these handsome young bucks - Fright Night was a Hollywood first for one of its best characters. Doctor Who's David Tennant plays the very funny Vegas magician Peter Vincent who Charley (Yelchin) enlists to beat the baddies. Anton: 'He's so good. Tennant is so hilarious, he's just the nicest man and his improv is so f*cking funny. He's SO natural. He's just the same as Colin. They both gave great performances. They just create such total characters where everything connects.'
3D is an issue that divides Hollywood between those that are all for it and those that think a movie should be able to stand on its own two feet. Chris: I do agree with that. I'm not a big fan of 3D. I loved Avatar but I was like 'ughhh my head'. But Craig knows how to do 3D correctly. There were moments when I forgot that I was watching 3D and that's because he didn't want people to have to deal with it, he wanted people to just get focused on the characters because the performances are so good and then there were moments were you're like 'BOOM. OH WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT?!' And I like that about it. Some people are like 'No I want 3D every moment but it's too much, you don't need it for 2 hours.'
At just 22, both actors already have an impressive back catalogue of movies behind them. Chris of course is known for his roles in Superbad and Kick Ass while Anton starred as Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation and as Chekov in Star Trek. Is it daunting being a part of two possible movie franchises?
Chris to Anton: 'Well it's pretty nice 'cause you know you're going to be working for the next few years...'
Anton: 'I try not to think like 'oh this is a franchise so I'm going to do this a particular way'. It's more fun than daunting because Star Trek was the first time that I was on a movie set where I felt like we were making movies the way I thought about movies when I was a little kid.'
Did it fulfil a childhood dream of yours? Anton: Yea, totally, like you're at Paramount Studios with huge elaborate sets' - Chris butts in to mock Anton's hyperbolic account of the set – 'And there's movie stars left and right and it's all like 'ACTION!' (he says, in an over-zealous director-y voice).
Anton: 'Yea, well said dude. But truly, like you're blowing sh*t up and there's CGI and with Terminator there were robots walking around and we blew up a gas station and it's just like WOAH. We blew cars 600 feet in the air!' Chris: 'That's sick man.' Anton: 'It was sick.' Chris: 'I wanna do something like that!'
A slight departure for Yelchin from this style of filmmaking is the romantic drama Like Crazy, a movie with Felicity Jones that did fantastically well at Sundance. Made on a shoestring, he must be proud to have it released next month.
Anton: 'I'm really proud of that movie. I don't mean this to sound pretentious but that style of filmmaking where we got together for 3 and a half weeks and just made this movie with this gung ho effort was just great.' Chris: 'You're so pretentious'.
Anton: 'It's like right now movies just aren't getting made and the fact that we went into this without anybody, it was just us.' Chris: 'You didn't get paid?' Anton: 'No we probably barely covered the gas I spent driving around. We just went to tell this story with very primitive technology and we did it just because we cared about it you know?' Bit of a Labour of love then? Anton: 'Yea the fact that people respond to it and the fact that you can do it when studios won't put movies together, like you can just go with a bunch of really dedicated people and make a movie out of nothing is just huge for what's going on in the industry right now and I love that movie. I'm really proud of it and I really like that character and I really like the people involved.'
As my time in the company of two of the most promising Hollywood actors drew to a close, I couldn't leave without asking about Funny or Die. Mintz-Plasse collaborated with Dave Franco (James's equally attractive younger brother) for an exclusive FoD called 'You're So Hot' that needless to say, went down a treat. Any chance of more FoD appearances?
Chris: 'Yea well my buddy Davey Franco just shot a short film that's like 8 minutes long and I helped him out with that.' Anton: 'Really? You don't tell me these things! I'm supposed to be your friend!' Now, now boys lets be nice Chris: 'Well my scene is actually supposed to be a surprise, but now everyone will see this interview. But yea, we wanna do a 'You're So Hot Two' with some female actresses.'
And what about Anton? Anton: 'Yea I mean if these guys would have me be funny I dunno.' Chris: 'You'd be funny, I'm not going to have you be funny -you are a funny guy.' (They're friends again) Anton: 'Yea I would love to do anything with these guys.'
Chris: 'Did you see Davey's one?'
I did see 'Go F*ck Yourself With Dave Franco' and while it's certainly funny, unfortunately when you get to a certain point in the clip, it goes beyond what we'd consider appropriate to feature on entertainment.ie.
Chris: 'You mean when he starts f*cking himself? It's so good! It's f*cking insane!'
Feel free to venture over to funnyordie.com and check that video out at your own discretion. Fright Night is in cinemas nationwide as of today. Go see it!
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Friday 2nd September 2011 | Movie
Can't believe I missed the Irish Premiere with McLovin!!!Posted 13:01 | Tue 20th Dec 2011
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