I know, I know… Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant… another vampire flick. Only instead of Robert Pattinson looking longingly into your eyes, you get John C. Reilly whispering subtle jokes in your ear and possibly taking a dabble of blood is bored. He may seem like an odd lead for a vampire movie, but as he says in the interview below he’s been trying for ages to become the “next teen sensation” so this might finally be the film to push him over the edge! Chances are the wide-eyed, good-guy vampire Chris Massoglia might be taking that spot instead of him, but I’m still rooting for Reilly. That is if anyone can keep their eyes off Salma Hayek who even with a beard is probably once of the hottest women on earth.
Check out the edited version of The Vampire’s Assistant press conference below…
John, you’ve done so many different types of roles that there’s not really a typical John C. Reilly role. But, a sexy vampire that gets to romance Salma Hayek is very different for you, isn’t it?
John: It’s a personal high.
What was your reaction when they offered you this role? Were you surprised?
John: Well, I was thrilled. I had been doing a lot of comedies in a row, and I was getting known only for that, especially among younger audiences. I thought, “Wow, I’ve done almost 50 movies, and these kids only know me from these two movies, and they think that’s all that I do.” So, I thought maybe it was time to do something different. I had always wanted to do a fantasy movie. This kind of movie is the kind of movie I like to see. I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter movies and The Lord of the Rings films. I like a good fantasy adventure story, so I was thrilled when it came along. And then, to have such a detailed, textured character [was great]. This guy has been alive so long and seen so much. And, I got to be a mentor character, which has been an important relationship in my life, at different points. So, I’m thrilled to just keep surprising them. Of course, in two years, it will be, “John, why are you always playing vampires and kissing Salma Hayek?”
John, how cool was it to play the head vampire?
John: This whole vampire tidal wave that’s happened lately wasn’t quite cresting, at the time we made the movie. The first Twilight movie hadn’t come out, or anything. My favorite vampire movie was Shadow of a Vampire. I thought that was really great. And, we were lucky enough to have Willem Dafoe in the movie. I became aware of the books through the script, and then eventually read all of them. I was always the one on the set going, “You know, but the books say . . .” I came to really enjoy them.
Chris, it seems like playing a young, handsome vampire is the fastest way to becoming a star. Do you feel pressure to become the next teen sensation?
Chris: I don’t really think I feel pressured to become a teen sensation ‘cause that’s not really my goal in life. It’s not really about being star, being popular or having lots of girls. It’s really about continuing to be able to act and have fun, and do what I like to do. For me, it’s just about learning and being there, understanding and developing my acting abilities, and being able to look for the next project, so I can act in it. It’s not really about being a teen star, so I don’t really feel pressured in that way.
John: I feel pressured to become the next teen sensation. I don’t have a lot of years left, so I’m really counting on this one.
Salma, what do you think about the vampire explosion and what do you like about vampires?
Salma: I don’t have a fascination for vampires. It’s quite ironic. I’ve actually been a vampire in a movie, and I’ve been in love with a vampire in another movie, and yet I have no fascination whatsoever with vampires. But, I did love this script. It wasn’t the fact that it was vampires. I actually found the concept of the circus freaks a lot more interesting than the vampires, maybe because there’s been less movies done about that. But, it doesn’t matter what I like ‘cause they were interesting characters. I also liked that it was a film that is for young people, but it doesn’t treat young people as a cliche. It’s respectful of their uniqueness. It doesn’t tell them exactly what they’re supposed to think. It gives them space to take different things in different ways. I thought it was quite smart and refreshing, so that’s what attracted me to it. It just happened to be a vampire project. It also just happened to have facial hair, and it’s the third time I’ve done some kind of freak facial hair in a movie.
One of the things that makes this vampire movie unique is the flitting that the vampires do. How did that actually work?
John: That involved Chris getting on my back, and me trying to run with Chris on my back. My knees used to be able to do that much better than they’re able to do. But, we only had to run a few feet and then the effects would kick in. One of my favorite parts of the books is actually the fact that they can travel so quickly.
Chris: I liked being able to be on John’s back. It was fun.
What challenges did you encounter with shooting this movie, or was it just fun for you?
Chris: This was my first movie and my first chance to really act in a movie. There are a lot of things about acting that are really fun, but at the same time, it is work and it is a job. We were on set for 12 hours a day, for three and a half months. I was away from my friends and family, and I wasn’t playing sports. So, while the whole experience was really interesting and fun and I learned a lot, there were days that I had to work, like anybody has to do.
John: It was a real special time to get to work in New Orleans. Some parts of the city were totally coming back, and other parts were shockingly still neglected and seemingly forgotten, so that was hard to see. Once you get outside of the French Quarter, it was hard to see how hard people were still struggling in New Orleans. That theater that we shot in hadn’t really been touched since the storm, so it was filthy and you felt like it was dangerous just to be in there. But, ironically, that was exactly why we picked it. It was so atmospheric and had so much decay going on. It was a challenge to work in that place, but overall, New Orleans was a pretty delightful place to be.
Salma: For me, it was a dream job because I had a very small part and everybody in the movie was amazing and fun to be with. For me, it was just a lot of fun. I would go in and talk with nice people and play a crazy character. It was not a lot of work. I spent a lot of time with my child. But, at the same time, everybody took this very seriously. The movie has a lot of comedy and they are fantastic characters, but part of the fun was working with such professional people. And, I was very impressed with Chris. He’s young and it’s his first movie. It would be very easy to get distracted. But, all the young kids were shocking. They were like machines. They were professional, focused, took it very seriously, really paid attention to the directions and really tried to understand and learn. They were always watching John.
Chris: We had good examples.
Salma: Everybody took it very seriously, and that was part of the fun.
Chris, you’re just getting started here with your first film. Were you able to learn some tips from John, Salma or any of the other actors?
Chris: Yeah, definitely. One of the best things, for me, about doing this movie was just working with all these guys. Being able to do your first movie with a bunch of Oscar nominated actors and actresses, and director, is a really big privilege. I remember the first day I was working with John, I was a little intimidated. And, (director) Paul [Weitz] came up and just started talking to me, and he got my mind off the subject. And then, John came up and we had a really cool conversation, and it was fine. It was a lot of fun.
I asked John a lot of questions, throughout filming, like “What was it like for you? How would you deal with certain situations?” The biggest thing for me was just being able to observe how he worked with the crew members and different cast members that would come and go. It was fun, not only ‘cause I got to see how he acted professionally in what he does, but I also got to see how he related personally with all the other cast and crew. It was really awesome for me.
What was it like to work with Michael Cerveris?
John: He’s about 100 pounds lighter than he appears in the film, first of all. I can’t tell you how many people I know, who have seen the film, have said, “Where did they get that fat guy from? He was amazing!” And, I say, “That’s not a fat guy. That’s this actor.” When Michael and I would act in scenes together, I felt like we were trying to out-arch each other [with our eyebrows]. We were both trying to out-sinister each other, but I think he had me beat. He’s got that sinister quality in the bones. He’s just a fantastic stage actor. That’s what I know him from. So, I was really happy that he played the part. He really made the movie very rich. He’s the puppet master, through the whole thing.
Chris: He was really fun to work with. He was really nice. It was weird because he’d walk around set normal. He’s really skinny and pretty short, and then he had this huge, fat head on, so it was a little man with a really fat head, which was weird. But, yeah, he was really fun. It was really cool. He’s a huge fan of New Orleans and he did a lot to help out when he was there. He played shows there. I think he has an apartment there. It was cool to see how much he cared about New Orleans.
This movie ends in such a way that is very open for a sequel. Have they already talked to you about doing more films? Are you signed on for more?
John: We’ve been filming now for about three months. We’re almost done. It’s a big gamble on Universal’s part. No. If the movie does well, I’d assume there will be another one.
Chris: Yeah, I’m signed on for some more projects, and I’d love to do more. What I’ve heard is that, if the fans really come out and support the movie, then everybody is really interested in making another one.
Salma: We did sign a contract. We don’t know if it’s going to happen or not, but they made sure that we cannot just escape that easily, if it does well. I think it’s going to do really well, and I think it’s going to surprise many people.
That’s it for now, only you can decide if there will be a sequel by buying a ticket for the film this Friday October 23!