This has been quite a year for Eduardo Rodriguez. The man has been toiling in the Hollywood trenches for years, ever since making Curandero. That film, which was shepherded by Robert Rodriguez, unfortunately sat on a shelf awaiting release while Eduardo jumped into television projects like Fear Itself. This year, however, saw the release of not just Curandero (subtitled “Dawn of the Demon”) but Stash House, starring Dolf Lundgren. And, next week, comes Eduardo’s Fright Night 2: The New Blood. Three films in one year? Not too shabby.
This new installment in the Fright Night legacy is essentially a reboot. A fresh start. ”New Blood” as the title says. Although the character names are the same, the “sequel” carries no connection to the original films or the remake that came out in 2011. Eduardo was literally able to start over and put his take on the tale of a young man who discovers a vampire and fails miserably at warning his friends about the threat.
Here, we meet Charlie, a teen on a school trip in Romania. When he discovers his professor, Gerri (Jamie Murray), is a vampire and, well, if you’ve seen a Fright Night film, you know the rest… Inside, find our chat with Eduardo about the making of the film hitting DVD and Blu-ray October 1st.
Shock Till You Drop: You get a fresh start here, re-telling the story with no ties to the original or remake. What was behind that decision?
Eduardo Rodriguez: I don’t know exactly what was behind it. When I met with the producers, they were really open to stuff. They were the guys who did the remake, they had the rights to the series and when DreamWorks didn’t want to do a sequel, they took it to Fox. But as producers they were open to my ideas and were super cool about my suggestions. The script changed a little bit after I became involved. Matt Venne wrote the script and it was his baby, but he was super cool to work with, too.
Shock: Were there any visual materials you used to convince them you were right for the job? I always like to hear about director pitches.
Rodriguez: I begged and I cried, man. [laughs] I begged and cried until they gave it to me. When I got the script, I thought it was fun and the characters were cool. Basically, one of the main things was when I got the script, Gerri was again a male vampire. Since we were doing a new take on the whole thing, why not change it from male to female? At that time, I hadn’t seen Fright Night Part II and didn’t realize they had done that. But I did watch the sequel and I thought, this is a no-brainer. The other thing is I tried to make more set pieces, more scares, make it more entertaining.
What, specifically, did you want to do to set your vampire apart from the rest? I particularly liked the “sonar” sequence…
Rodriguez: That was a big challenge, actually. The budget on this was small, but we wanted to do… I don’t know if you’ve seen this music video for Radiohead’s “House of Cards” – they used this sonar for architecture and development. So, the camera doesn’t even has a lens, it’s lasers mapping an area so we thought it would be cool, but insanely expensive to use. What we did was the poor man’s solution to that effect. Me and the d.p. – Yaron Levy – were in the lobby of the hotel trying to figure out how to do it. But we somehow managed to pull it off. The inspiration for these kinds of things like the sonar came from just watching Discovery channel. [laughs]
Shock: How did you help Jamie Murray find her vampiric side?
Rodriguez: She already has it! I didn’t have to do much. She’s really cool and super hot and sexy, so you don’t have to do anything about that. The thing I found with Jamie is she has a strong personality which was cool for the vampire. I didn’t want to have a vampire that was just sexy. I wanted someone who was threatening, a strong presence, and she brings that as well. She was well-prepared and knew what she wanted to do with the character. It wasn’t hard to turn her into Gerri.
Shock: Fox is loyal to the directors it brings into the home video fold – have there been any talks of taking Fright Night further?
Rodriguez: No, I haven’t talked to them yet. My guess is they’re waiting to see what happens with this one before they try it again. Now that I’m back in town, I’m going to try and see if I can get another film going I have at After Dark.