Early this morning I had the pleasure of speaking with Marti Noxon, the screenwriter for DreamWorks upcoming remake of Fright Night. The film has a huge cult following and was released back when vampires were both romantic and deadly at the same time. Noxon knows a thing or two about working with the undead having bit her writing teeth (pun intended) on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
During our interview we talked about the differences and similarities between the old and new Fright Night, as well as Steven Spielberg’s reaction to the script. As of late we’ve been experiencing a serious drought of feral, murderous vamps but this film will definitely bring them back to the forefront. Fright Night’s main bloodsucker doesn’t want to take you to dinner like Edward Cullen, he wants to make you HIS dinner like Jaws!
When Noxon was approached by DreamWorks to pen the Fright Night script she was more than ready to dive into the material. She already had an idea of what she wanted to do and how she wanted to do it.
Marti Noxon: They came to me and told me that they were going to revamp the original movie. And after a long time of not doing anything vampire related I was primed. I very much wanted to do a response to what the current vibe in the genre is. I wanted to write a different kind of vampire so I was really psyched about that.
The big concern fans of the original have is whether or not this movie will be a direct remake or a homage. Noxon claims that it will be a mixture of both. It has a lot of the elements that made the first one great but certain things had to be updated for the times.
MN: It’s really revamped. It’s not a complete new take. There are tons and tons of familiar things from the original movie. Interestingly, I was a fan [of the film] but I wasn’t obsessed in a way so I was able to see the original and see opportunities to make more of what was there and update certain concepts from the movie. There are not many late night horror movie TV hosts anymore so we came up with a new idea of what that guy would be modern day.
Once the script was completed Steven Spielberg got a glimpse of the final product and was thoroughly impressed. It reminded him of his films from the eighties in terms of its character development.
MN: The most flattering thing I’ve heard about this script and I’m truly humbled by it was that Mr. Spielberg said it felt like an Amblin movie. That it feels very rooted in character but it’s really scary too. We’ve made more of relationships that were sort of alluded to in the original movie. Craig Gillespie who’s directing it is really making sure that it’s going to be both funny and very, very scary.
For those of you who are sick of vampires being portrayed as emo teens or overly sensitive protectors (I’m looking at you Bill Compton) Fright Night will hopefully put that to rest. The main character is a good looking guy named Jerry Dandridge who actually uses his charm and sex appeal to kill.
MN: Another thing that we talked about early on in the process was we went back to the idea of a vampire being like Jaws. Anything they have that’s attractive is really just there to draw a victim. Their lethal, and terrifying, and really don’t have much soul at all. We went back to that idea. One of the great things is that we have Colin Farrell playing that role and he’s so attractive that he can do it. It’s almost like a Venus fly trap. It’s not because he’s aching over or pining over you, he wants to eat people!
With the promise of such an honest vampire portrayal I asked if the script had been toned down so the film could receive a PG-13 rating.
MN: We’re going firmly R. Once again, it’s very much kin to the original. It’s not going to be gory but it’s dirty and sexy and scary. That’s the way it should be.
I agree wholeheartedly!
Fright Night is scheduled to hit theaters on October 7, 2011.
What do you think of the new and improved Fright Night? Are you looking forward to seeing a real vampire again?