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September 2011

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Fright Night H Fright Night director's chair Craig Gillespie — OLLYWOOD — Aussie director Craig Gillespie worked as an award-winning commercial direc- By IAIN BLAIR First blow-up dolls, now vampires. tor for 15 years before making his feature debut with 2007's Mr.Woodcock, but the film's dark comedy didn't test well and Gille- spie ultimately left the project and was re- placed by another director. Undeterred, he channeled the experience and his love of the absurd into the contro- versial and critically acclaimed Lars and the Real Girl, the story of a man who falls in love with a sex doll. His latest film, Fright Night, could hardly be more different. A 3D update of the 1985 cult favorite, it stars Colin Farrell as Jerry, a sinister vampire who moves in next door to a naïve high school student (Anton Yelchin) and his mom (Toni Collette) in suburban Las Vegas. Mayhem — and a lot of blood — soon follows. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, he talks about making the film, his love of post and visual effects, and why he's next tackling zombies. POST: Fright Night seems like a very long way from Lars and the Real Girl.Was it? CRAIG GILLESPIE: "From a visual standpoint, definitely.Tonally, there's a mix of genres, like Lars, except here it's horror and comedy, and that's what attracted me to it. I wasn't even thinking about doing a vampire movie, but then I read the script by Marti Noxon, who wrote and produced shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was just too good to resist. I also loved the idea of being able to do something with the camera that's so specific to horror and thrillers, where it's like another character.You really manipulate the audience, creeping along dark corridors and going down in base- ments. So I really enjoyed getting to work that muscle." POST: What sort of prep work did you do : Co3's Stefan Sonnenfeld used DaVinci Resolve for the film's DI. with DP Javier Aguirresarobe, who's shot a lot of suspenseful movies, includingThe Twilight Saga: New Moon andThe Others? GILLESPIE: "He's got a wonderful eye for this sort of material and we shot-listed and then prevized all the action scenes — about 700 frames including the car chase and all the big fight scenes with the vam- pires.Third Floor in LA did all the previz, and that was a big help to the crew.All the de- partments get to see exactly what we're doing, and in a three-minute clip you show what would take 30 minutes to explain. Then Javier and I spent two weeks going 10 Post • September 2011 through every scene, since we both like to have a 'roving master' instead of the tradi- tional wide two-shot singles.You design the shot so the master tells the story, and you go from being a single- to a three-shot and two-shot.Then you pick up whatever other coverage you need. All this helped with the thriller aspect of it, and we also designed all the lighting well in advance, so we knew ex- actly what we had to do in every scene.We were very well prepared." POST: This was basically just your second film, and it's in 3D. How hard was that leap technically? GILLESPIE: "It was big but I've been doing hundreds of commercials over the just tightening it all up and really getting the pace right — that was crucial.Then the sec- ond big thing was getting the music right and dealing with all the visual effects. That all took quite a bit longer to get right." POST: Where did you do the edit? GILLESPIE:"We rented offices in Santa Monica and cut it all there." POST: It was edited by Tatiana Riegel, who also cut Lars for you. How did that re- lationship work? GILLESPIE: "She's very fast, and the way we shot meant it all came together very quickly. There weren't tons of angles to choose from, so she got to really focus on the performance. She was down in Albu- Craig Gillespie calls post "the most fun part of the process." years and that was great preparation. So this was a chance to use pretty much all the tools I've used in commercials.There's a lot of basic opinions on what to do and not do in 3D, but you learn more by just doing it. You're not supposed to shoot dirty singles or have camera flares, and there are all these rules about the depth of field. After the first week, all the stuff Javier and I liked wasn't fol- lowing the rules. So we did do dirty singles and shot it all wide open, at a 1.4, so there was a shallow depth of field.We just went with our instincts." POST: Do you like the post process? GILLESPIE: "I love it. It's the most fun part of the process for me. The first 10 weeks where you're finding the film is so much fun. It was very similar to post on Lars in that it came together very quickly, but then we cut 30 minutes out of that first cut, querque where we shot, and she'd cut on the Avid as we went, so every day I'd go over and look at her assembly, because get- ting the right tone was our primary concern — that balance of horror and humor." POST: Who did the visual effects and how many visual effects shots are there? GILLESPIE:"We ended up with around 350 shots. K.N.B Effects Group, who did Predators and work on Transformers, de- signed five stages of make-up and transfor- mation for Jerry and the other vampires.The first three were all make-up, the fourth was a mix of make-up and CGI, and then the fifth was all CGI. Luma Pictures, who did Captain America and Thor, did most of the VFX shots, everything from explosions to the vampires, and we also farmed various shots out to Pixel Magic, Digital Domain and Shade.They all did a great job."

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