[3 June 2011]
Apart from a pint-sized but pivotal role as Barty Crouch Jr. in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and some voice work for How to Train Your Dragon, the upcoming remake of the 1985 vampire romp Fright Night marks Scottish actor David Tennant’s first major foray into Hollywood. For his portrayal of the tormented Time Lord with the fantastic hair, Tennant earned heaps of critical praise and a legion of adoring British and Anglophile fans. But it’s reasonable to presume that still much of America remains unsubscribed to BBC America programming, and thus has no bleeding idea who Tennant is. Such would probably be the explanation provided by the Fright Night marketing department if questioned about the near-absence of Tennant from the recently released trailer. Blink and you’ll miss him in just one shot. Are they just saving the goods for later?
Scripted by Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer’s room alum Marti Noxon, and with evident departures from the original, Fright Night pits nice-guy teenager Charlie (Anton Yelchin) against new next-door-neighbor Colin Farrell (aka Jerry the Vampire) after Charlie connects his neighbor to a series of missing persons reports. Tennant later enters the fray as Peter Vincent (a role originated by Roddy McDowall), playing a leather-and-eyeliner Vegas magician modeled after Criss Angel whom Charlie seeks vampire-staking help from after Jerry sets his sights on Charlie’s mother (Toni Collette) and girlfriend (Imogen Poots).
The trailer is all Colin Farrell, all the time. And that’s okay. Here he seems perfectly cast as the fanged antagonist with slithering sexuality and subsurface malice. The Farrell of late appears more focused on his craft, with a comedic turn in the upcoming Horrible Bosses, and well received character acting in such films as In Bruges and Crazy Heart compensating for the gum-chewing Hollywood bad-boy baloney he cultivated for a time between SWAT and Alexander. And while newcomer Anton Yelchin has scored roles in some prominent films the last couple years, Fright Night looks to be the memorable movie of the bunch to raise him out of supporting casts.
But let’s be frank: The real breakout of this flick will be David Tennant, likely the biggest scene-stealer and wit of the cast whose appeal as both a charming ham and keen dramatic actor will be on full display.