Colin Farrell caused a rumble when he seemed to diss his own movie in front of thousands of theater owners on Tuesday at the group’s annual CinemaCon convention.
But really, he was taking a knock at himself.
The wisecracking Irishman was there to show off the first footage of his upcoming horror remake Fright Night, as a vicious but bored-to-(un)death vampire who moves into the suburbs next to a suspicious teen (Anton Yelchin). The 34-year-old actor was a big fan of the 1985 cult-favorite, which starred Chris Sarandon in the bloodsucker role, and told the audience of theater owners: “I heard they were remaking Fright Night and went, ‘Ah, god, remake! Hollywood, so dull!’ And I read the script [by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men alum Marti Noxon] and really hoped I didn’t like it, and I did. It was fun. But I was a fan of the original. I probably saw it when I was 12 years of age, and loved it.”
Okay, so far, so good. Farrell went on to talk about his friendship with director Craig Gillespie and praised his previous movie Lars and the Real Girl. But then he continued.
“Meself, as a fan of the original, it doesn’t change. I don’t think I’ll have a copy of this version in my library, but I have the original at home,” Farrell said, drawing scattered nervous laughs. “And since [the old film] still exists, maybe this [new] film will bring that film to a whole new audience and maybe some fans of the original, like myself, can enjoy this one as well.”
He then threw it back to Gillespie who said, haltingly, “There are … other actors in the film, as well,” garnering more chuckles from the crowd.
Backstage, Farrell was kicking himself. “Yeah, I knew that would be picked up!” he told EW. “What I meant was [I wouldn’t own it] because I’m in the f—ing thing!” He said he cringes when he watches himself. “It’s always uncomfortable.” Even his sister said “D’oh” to Farrell after hearing what he said onstage. But the actor says he’s a fan of the new Fright Night now, too. He endured watching himself in the film, and said he “enjoyed the romp that it was for two hours.”
Fright Night comes out Aug. 19, and Gillespie says true vampire fans will enjoy seeing their favorite creatures be true monsters again. “There’s an extremeness to the vampires in the original Fright Night, and we wanted to keep that in this,” said the director. “This is not a Twilight, or a romantic thing. This is almost like a vicious, sexual predator.”
Farrell showed a cell phone image of himself in full-on creature make-up with stringy white hair, knotted face, and blood-soaked, razor-sharp jaws. The idea is the more angry or threatened the vampire, the more of a fiend it becomes.
Jerry, Farrell’s character, is many centuries old and has a laid-back attitude about killing. In footage previewed at CinemaCon, he casually digs a hole in a family’s backyard, yanks their gas pipe from the ground, filling their house with fumes and igniting it in a fireball — all to force them from the home so he can prey on them. He does it all as lackadaisically as someone taking out the trash.
“He’s very, very practically minded, just to survive,” Farrell laughs.