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Comic-Con: DreamWorks' 3-D Fright Night, Vampires, Colin Farrell's Career & Underworld Awakening

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood July 23, 2011 at 1:15AM

DreamWorks' Fright Night panel started off with more Twilight bashing as moderator Chris Gore called it the "badass blood-thirsty panel." True vampire fans aren't necessarily Twilight fans, it's clear. Underworld: Awakening screened footage (also in 3-D) before the Fright Night panel, with "Grandmother of Vampires" Kate Beckinsale (she gladly wears the title) talking about her "shiny bottom": no Twilight glitter. The moderator thanked her for appearing naked in the footage. And that's all we'll say about that franchise. Len Wiseman is also directing wife Beckinsale and Fright Night star Colin Farrell in Total Recall, along with Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Ethan Hawke and Bill Nighy.
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Thompson on Hollywood


DreamWorks' Fright Night panel started off with more Twilight bashing as moderator Chris Gore called it the "badass blood-thirsty panel." True vampire fans aren't necessarily Twilight fans, it's clear. Underworld: Awakening screened footage (also in 3-D) before the Fright Night panel, with "Grandmother of Vampires" Kate Beckinsale (she gladly wears the title) talking about her "shiny bottom": no Twilight glitter. The moderator thanked her for appearing naked in the footage. And that's all we'll say about that franchise. Len Wiseman is also directing wife Beckinsale and Fright Night star Colin Farrell in Total Recall, along with Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Ethan Hawke and Bill Nighy.

"There's a lot of vampire out there now," said Fright Night screenwriter Marti Noxon. "I hadn't really done anything since Buffy, and once you've done Buffy it's really hard to top." She was drawn to Fright Night for its relationships and how they could evolve from original to remake. "I really wanted to write a vampire that didn't play the piano," she says. She missed vampires with "viciousness and sexuality," something she says Colin Farrell undeniably has. Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) wasn't familiar with the original Fright Night but loved Noxon's script. "I could visualize it really easily," he says.

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The stars of the film, Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Christopher Mintz-Plasse joined Gillespie and Noxon on the Hall H panel. Co-star Toni Collette (Yelchin's mother) was absent.

Farrell was reluctant to play vampire Jerry Dandrige at first. "I loved the original, I had seen it first when I was ten or eleven….when I heard they were making it I was dubious, I thought 'Oh here we go, Hollywood and its originality.' But I really liked [the script]. I had done some films that were more serious in their subject matter and I just wanted to have some fun." He added: "There was enough homage paid to the original and enough new material to take the characters in a new direction."

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Fans were curious about Farrell's earlier career compared to his last few years of film choices. "I have enjoyed the work a lot more in the last few years," says Farrell. "I came to success really fast," which brought "extreme chaos." "I myself personally lost sight of why I went to my first acting class and why I went back to my second one. During the last six years I feel like I reconnected with that seventeen-year old Colin," a Colin that enjoyed the mystery of acting. One questioner mentioned his love for Farrell's In Bruges and gave him a hard time for his "douche-baggery" in Horrible Bosses. Why was he currently "doing this crap?" Farrell said he's read a lot of the material that's out there, and "it either speaks to you or it doesn't…the connection [to the material] is kind of beyond your control."

Farrell is not currently admitting that Fright Night was a mistake, but did say (in response to "which superhero would you like to play?"); "I thought I was playing a superhero in Alexander and that didn't really pan out." He also notes that: "Miami Vice was a bit of a six month blackout for me." Farrell has left his drinking and drugging behind, and In Bruges, Ondine, Crazy Heart and The Way Back all hold performances to be proud of. Fright Night may not continue the trend, but he had a good time doing it.

Fright Night boasts some A-list actors in a remake of a B horror-comedy. Roger Ebert said of the 1985 original: "Fright Night is not a distinguished movie, but it has a lot of fun being undistinguished." We'll see if the same can be said for the remake. Judging from the four 3-D clips, it's hard to believe that this is the same director who did Lars and the Real Girl.

The fastest texters in the hall were able to win an advance Comic-Con screening of the film.

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Studios, Exhibition, Comic-Con, Remake, Horror , Colin Farrell, DreamWorks, Disney , 3D


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.