Interview with Jaime Murray about Fright Night 2: New Blood!
Recently, we had the chance to have a quick chat with the lovely Jaime Murray, star of Hustle, Warehouse 13 and Defiance, about her new movie ‘Fright Night 2‘! Jaime plays Gerri Dandridge – by day, a sultry and mysterious lecturer, but by night, a ruthless vampire! Of course the advantage of being a sexy college lecturer who’s also a vampire is the access to the blood of young virgin students, so when a new set of students travel to study abroad in Romania, for Gerri, lunch is served!
Charley (Will Payne – Mr Selfridge) and Ed (Chris Waller – Holby City) must prevent the super-powered creature of the night from drinking and bathing in the blood of a “new moon virgin” for everlasting youth… Which just so happens to be Charley’s ex, Amy (Sacha Parkinson – Coronation Street). Charley sets out to stick a stake through Gerri’s evil plans by enlisting help from Peter Vincent (Sean Power – Lead Balloon), the notorious vampire hunter. But can Charley’s plan save Amy from a grisly fate?
Interview with Jaime Murray about Fright Night 2: New Blood
So Jaime, tell me a little bit about your new movie Fright Night 2!
It’s part of the Fright Night franchise, and it’s a retelling of the vampire myth using the same characters and basic plot lines from the previous films. I read the script and I watched the version that they did in 2011 with Colin Farrell, and thought it was really creative and fun way of telling this story. I think the reason that the vampire myth is so popular is because it’s a warning, and it’s telling a story that is still relevant to the collective consciousness, and that’s why it’s so popular in our culture. And it’s a pretty dark one, so I think the element of comedy is there for much needed light relief!
This is the first time you’ve played a vampire as well isn’t it, which rather surprised me, as you seem quite suitable for that role![Laughs] it’s so funny you say that, because I was seeing all these vampire movies being made and I was like, ermm… I’m like the archetypal vampire! The colour of my hair, my skin, the cut of my face, you know! So I was very happy when this came along! Apparently the producers had seen me in Spartacus, where I played this very narcissistic, fallen roman woman. There’s a scene with a young slave girl who’s so lovely, open, and innocent, and has absolutely no power, and I have all the power in that scene. So I really push it, and really abuse my power, and I do think that the vampire myth is about an abuse of power, and about a loss of innocence. I think that one scene might have got me Fright Night 2.
Having been on both Dexter and Spartacus, your no stranger to lots of blood in your work, but in this you actually had to bathe in a bath of it!
I did yes! We filmed in Romania and up in Transylvania, which is as good a place as any to shoot a vampire movie! The locations were unbeatable, and incredibly Gothic and beautiful. It was also sufficiently freezing cold and gloomy, and all night shoots, which added something else [laughs]! The other thing we took from Romania, and Hungary, where this story comes from originally, is the story of Elizabeth Báthory. She was a woman from the 15th century who was, you know… very bored, just hanging around her castle… her husband was away fighting some war… She didn’t have a TV, there were no reality shows to distract her, so she started dabbling in the occult, and sorcery!
This is a time when there were lots of charlatans wandering around trying to interest bored young ladies, and Elizabeth was probably about 16 when she got into it. It just really turned her head. She was a very beautiful woman, but when she got to about 40 and felt her looks were fading, she hit on the idea that the blood of other woman had rejuvenating effects! So she would try and take local innocent virgin women, and when that wasn’t working… Clearly, as we all know, she was bat-s**t crazy, and that won’t really help with aging, otherwise I can assure you, they’d be doing that in Hollywood! She decided she needed ‘well-born’ blood, aristocracy blood, so she would take young aristocratic women into the house to ‘teach the how to be a lady’… Then locked them in dungeons with the help of some of her handmaidens.
If she had never progressed onto landed gentry and aristocracy, she probably would have gone unpunished, but because there were rumours about her for years about her taking surfs and peasants to kill, abuse and torture, eventually she got held accountable. Although she never got put to death or arrested as you would expect, she was put on house arrest until she died. The other aristocrats or her level were concerned that if they admitted that she did this there would be an uprising.
So it’s a really rich and amazing story to have as a backstory for our film grounded it in some really gruesome reality!
Do you prefer playing the villain to playing the heroine?
I’ve played some really interesting and complex women in very unusual circumstances that are forced to make some tough decisions. So I try not to judge them as good or bad, because if I try and play a baddie, I really need to be the best advocate for the character that I play, otherwise your not going to get an interesting of layered performance. Nobody that does anything that’s bad thinks they’re bad, they think they have no other choice, and they’re making the best decision under the circumstances. So you really have to dig deep and try and understand the motivation of somebody that does really bad things…
That all being said… [laughs] I didn’t realize just how disquieting it would be to play this character! The film has an element of humor, so it wasn’t just a straightforward horror movie, there wasn’t just darkness, there was also some light relief, but by trying to dig around why this woman was doing what she was doing, and reading about Elizabeth Báthory, and Freudian and Jungian analysis of the vampire myth… and narcissism… and general darkness… I really didn’t sleep that well whilst I was doing this [laughs]!
Even though I have enjoyed playing some, what other people might term ‘baddie roles’, I’m not sure how many I have left in me [laughs]! Maybe it’s time to do something a little bit lighter!