As one of the busiest working actors in Hollywood, Colin Farrell needs no introduction. He’s played a country singer, a coked out horrible boss, Alexander the Great, a Russian convict, and an array of numerous other memorable characters over the years. His role, as the vampire-next-door Jerry in the Fright Night remake, is another one of his shining moments that proves he’s one of the most versatile actors working today.
Bamcat spoke with Farrell in Toronto, when he was shooting the new Total Recall. Read our Q&A below.
Bamcat: How is your version of Jerry different than Chris Sarandon’s in the original Fright Night?
Colin Farrell: This guy was more brutal, which is not to say he didn’t have a blatant sexuality to him and that he didn’t involve himself in the pursuance of self-gratification, cause that was all in there, but it wasn’t as sensually seductive as what Chris did in the original. [My take is] more blue collar where Chris’ felt like an intellectual. More dignified and eloquent. He felt European. Being a big fan of the original I would have been loathed and very anxious trying to tread in those footsteps.
Bamcat: Did you talk to Chris Sarandon at all about his take on Jerry versus your take?
CF: Not really. I know his take on Jerry. I saw it and experienced it, and I loved it. So when he was on set it was just really cool to have him there. Hanging with him for six, seven, eight hours… it was really cool. We talked a little bit about the experience but not so much. I’m a big fan of his work outside of [Fright Night] as well, such as Child’s Play and Dog Day Afternoon. He’s just a magnificent actor.
Bamcat: With Fright Night and the upcoming Total Recall remake, is there more pressure on you as an actor because of the fan base these films already have?
CF: Not as an actor. As a personality who has to answer questions about the work, I suppose. I had different opinions on remakes before I did one. And now I’m of the mind where there’s certainly not a sign of originality, there’s certainly not a beacon call to the art of being unique. Having said that, if you get really good people to be part of telling the stories, part of the remake experience, well then in and of itself the film should work. A shit film is a shit film regardless of whether it’s a remake or an original so it would be nice for them to be judged [independently]. Fright Night works, and if it doesn’t it’s not because it’s a remake.
Bamcat: Is there a role or type of role you have yet to play that you really want to do?
CF: Generally, as far as the work goes, I haven’t had a plan. Playing a vampire does tick a box off for me for sure. It was really fun. Somewhere in the back of my head I’d love to play a boxer, but that’s a common thing I assume for a lot of guys.
Bamcat: Is there an exhaustion that sets in from the emotion and physicality of doing a movie like this?
CF: One of the hardest things, or tiring things, to do in a fight is to defend yourself. It’s less tiring to throw out punches or hold someone than it is to get out of a hold or duck punches. With that in mind, the place of power and the place of less physical exertion is the grander place. What I did find a little bit tiring was the lack of human emotion. It was an interesting exercise for me in the observance of how we as human beings are ruled by fear. If there is one thing that Jerry is not going to have it’s fear. Anger, but no fear. Not a second of it. That got kind of dull pretty quick. As humans we’re compelled to react from the place of fear.
Bamcat: Were you interested in vampires before making Fright Night?
CF: I grew up watching a good deal of scary films. I really do love the original Fright Night and The Lost Boys and Near Dark, and various incarnations of the Dracula legend, from Gary Oldman’s, to Bela Lugosi’s, to Christopher Lee’s, to modern takes like Let the Right In. So I’m well versed cinematically in the vampire world and find it fascinating. It just offers so much of what we as mortals and humans strive for. The idea of eternal beauty and the idea of being irresistibly attractive to other people, to being at the top of the food chain.
Bamcat: Do you think you’re going to be remembered for playing a vampire over every other role you’ve done?
CF: That would be depressing if all I’m remembered for is Fright Night [laughs]. Which is not a slam against Fright Night. As long as I’m not forgotten when I’m alive it’s alright.