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"Fright Night" Star Colin Farrell Defends Remakes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Colin Farrell and director Craig Gillespie chat about their take on the classic horror film, "Fright Night." What attracted them to this film? Plus, why did they both initially think that "Fright Night" didn't need to be remade -- and, what changed their minds? (Published Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014)

    In recent days, following the announcement of a decried "Dirty Dancing" do-over (say it ain't so!) and "Pushing Daisies" creator Bryan Fuller's plans to resurrect "The Munsters " for NBC, buzz has turned from 3D fatigue to remake backlash. 

    What perfect timing for "Fright Night" to bow in theaters!

    Not only is the film, about a teenager battling the vampire who moves in next door, a remake of the 1985 Tom Holland camp classic, but it's also in 3D, creating a perfect storm of everything audiences are growing weary of.

    Sitting down to speak with "Fright Night" star Colin Farrell, his faded denim shirt unbuttoned to the fourth button, an irrepressible twinkle in his eye, the fact that he's treading on sacred ground isn't lost on him.

    "I loved the original," he begins emphatically. "I loved the original!  I loved what Chris Sarandon did in the original."

    He admits that when he was first given the script, he didn't want to even read it because he was such a fan. Eventually, he says he was sucked into the idea of resurrecting, no pun intended, a villain in the school of Gary Oldman's Dracula or Tom Cruise's Lestat, rather than the sweetie pie patsy vampires who sparkle in the sun or run around shirtless in Louisiana.

    "I was playing a vampire that didn't have any fear at all and had no kind of desire to locate his romantic counterpart.  And there was none of that stuff.  It was just really an exercise in malevolence and brutality and it was fun." Although, he does offer with a laugh, "I actually wanted to go a little bit more 'Twilight' and [director Craig Gillespie] was like, 'No!'"

    Still, Farrell knows this version of "Fright Night" has some goodwill ground to make up with audiences who remember the original.

    "You have all these ideas about how possibly uncool it is to do a remake, and especially something that's held so sacrosanct by so many people as 'Fright Night' is. We all hold our childhoods very dear and we don't like anyone tinkering with our childhoods. It's almost like, in remaking, you're casting a judgment on the original.  If there is a judgment, the judgment is that it was good enough to do again.  That it was worthy enough to be revisited.  It's like Jeff Buckley's rendition of 'Hallelujah.' There’s no world where it detracts from [Leonard Cohen's] original, unless you want it to." 

    So does that make Farrell's upcoming "Total Recall" remake the K.D. Lang's version of "Hallelujah"?

    "I know!" he grins, "I'm having to get my s--t together.  I'm two-for-two on remakes."

    "Fright Night" (which we should add, we thoroughly enjoyed despite our initial reluctance) opens August 19.