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A Minute With: Colin Farrell on his "Fright Night"

Farrell attends a news conference for "Ondine" during the 34th Toronto International Film Festival
Farrell attends a news conference for "Ondine" during the 34th Toronto International Film Festival

By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For years, Colin Farrell's reputation as a party boy preceded him, but now he seems to have channeled his wild impulses into inspired performances in films such as "Horrible Bosses," "In Bruges" and "The Way Back."

In his new movie "Fright Night," a 3D update of the 1985 comedy cult favorite, Farrell stars as Jerry, a sinister vampire who moves in next door to a naive high school student played by Anton Yelchin and his mother, played by Toni Collette.

The Dublin-born actor spoke to Reuters about making the film, playing a vampire and why audiences love to be scared.

Q: You just played a horrible boss and now a vampire that must be fun for an actor to do such varied parts back-to-back?

A: "Yeah, but it's a shorter road between the two than you might imagine -- two fun characters. I felt like I'd had four or five years where I'd done more dramatic pieces and played characters that weren't really having a good time in their lives for a variety of reasons, and I'd wanted to do something lighter. Then these two films came along and it was happy days -- time to go and play."

Q: But didn't they have to persuade you to do this?

A: "I was dubious at first. I loved the original and you like to think of yourself as mixing things up and being a bit original -- and this is a remake of a vampire film in 3D. That's kind of three for three in unoriginality.

"But I felt I was in good hands with (director) Craig Gillespie who did "Lars and the Real Girl." I was a big fan of that, and I just loved the script. I didn't want to like it, but it was a blast of a read. And playing the villain was great, although I think my character's more on the periphery than he was in the original, and there's more attention paid to Anton's journey from boyhood to manhood."

Q: What about the vampire teeth?

A: "Easy! They do the mold, then file them down, and you don't even notice them wearing them. And it's great fun. You put them in, and instantly, because of all the films you saw as a kid, you start acting a certain way."

Q: Sexy. Vampires have always been sexy.

A: "Always, and that's the appeal. Human beings are always trying to bend and manipulate time to be in their favor and trying to defeat the ravages of age. And vampires are eternally young, although it'd probably be very annoying to be turned into one at 97, or 6. And then how they attack and feed off their prey seems very sensual and erotic -- biting the neck. You don't have to be a vampire to partake in such activity, but it takes it to an extreme. Blood is the liquid of life."

Q: Was it tricky finding the right tone and balance between the horror and the comedy?

A: "That was always going to be what this film worked or failed on, striking the right tone. That's why having Craig direct, as much as it seemed a delightfully left or right of center choice, was perfect because he found such a beautiful and harmonious chord between the absurdity in "Lars" and the emotional sensitivity. So even though this is a totally different genre and structure, I knew he could apply the same ability and level of finesse."

Q: "Were you a big horror fan?"

A: "Huge! Growing up I loved 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' 'Halloween' and 'Friday the 13th,' and there was nothing like being scared. And still to this day, just sitting in the cinema and being frightened and sharing laughter -- there's nothing like it."

Q: Why do people love to be scared so much?

A: "I think it's just anything that allows us to feel in life. A lot of the time, we go through the day trying to control things and we spend a lot of time in our heads and concerned and worried about how we're doing and how those we care about are getting along, and although that may feel like an emotional thing, a lot of time it's mental. So to have some visceral reaction in life to get that adrenaline going is a good thing. It makes you feel alive.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney)

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