Marti Noxon Talks Glee, Buffy & Fright Night
It’s been eight years since Marti Noxon has written about vampires, demons and the forces of darkness. In the time since Buffy the Vampire Slayer closed up shop, and shut down the Hellmouth for good, she’s dabbled in scrubs (on Grey’s Anatomy) and stripes (on Prison Break).
But Friday, Marti re-stakes her claim on the vampire genre with Fright Night, a slick and scary revamp of the 1985 cult classic, featuring a delicious turn from Colin Farrell as the bloodsucking villain. It’s easily 2011’s most thrilling horror movie and an absolute blast from start to finish. Marti recently took time out of her never busier schedule (not only is she a consulting producer on season three of Glee, but she’s got a super secret job on the side) to talk about returning to a genre she helped define!
TheInsider.com: After telling such a beloved vampire story, what made you want to tackle another?
Marti Noxon: I just had a real gut level feeling about it. Ever since Buffy, I get approached about a lot of vampire stories and nothing sparked my imagination, but from the moment I heard that DreamWorks was making this movie, I thought, “Yes. I want this.”
Insider: From a writer’s perspective, what’s the most important part of a scary movie, besides the actual scares?
Marti: Mike De Luca [Fright Night producer] said to me pretty early on, “I’m a believer in the first act.” He and I both think you need to take time letting your characters come to life. There are scares that come from seeing something you don’t want to see, but the deeper scares come from something bad happening to a character you’re invested in. I kept coming back to that beginning scene in Poltergeist, where the parents get stoned and talk about their past. It just makes them feel like such real, relatable people, so you actually care about them when everything starts to go wrong.
Insider: When you were writing the script, was Colin Farrell’s version of Jerry what you mentally pictured?
Marti: No. He’s way better than the Jerry I had in mind! I would often joke that I was picturing Lucky Vanous, you know, the guy from the Coke commercial that all the ladies are leering at? He’s sunny and all-American – the last guy in the world you would expect to be a vampire. But Colin brings a whole other level. Colin Farrell brought a feral quality to the role [laughs]. He’s so charismatic. For me, it’s like a Venus flytrap. A person who superficially has all these attractive qualities but with the intention of eating you.
Insider: I must say, there are gonna be a lot of Buffy fans out there loving the shout-out the show gets in this movie.
Marti: I had to have a little shout-out to the fans – and any Buffy geek who has seen the movie, instantly talks to me about that moment.
Insider: Fright Night sticks closely to the vampire rules Buffy established — was there any moment where you thought about adding to the lore? Like, making Jerry sparkle, for example.
Marti: What vampires can do is so varied now. But there are some rules that I don’t think are legit – for me, a vampire can not go in the sunlight! That’s not fair. It’s cheating. They’re nocturnal, that’s part of what makes them cool. Stakes beheading, fire kill them. You can’t slip them a mickey. There are some things you’ve got to stick with, otherwise you make it too easy on yourself.
Insider: Switching gears for a second, I have to say, hearing your name mentioned as a consulting producer for season three of Glee really makes me excited. And clearly I’m not alone since the internet exploded with the news.
Marti: Aw, thanks. That’s so nice, it makes me feel good to hear that because I’ve had a lot of internet hate directed at me. When you Google my name, one of the first sites that comes up is “Marti Noxon Ruined Buffy.” [laughs] I mean, Spike trying to have his way with Buffy was pretty dark, but we all make mistakes man. But the beginning of college is pretty gnarly. At least they got to sing, right?
Insider: Back To Basics, seems to be the buzz phrase for Glee season three. Now that you’ve been back at work for a few weeks, do you think that holds true?
Marti: Yea, the mandate is to focus on longer stories. I’ve always enjoyed the show, even when there were episodes that made you think, “what happened to that storyline from last week,” it still was delightful and clever. But I do think that continuity of story is a real goal this year. We’ve only done about three scripts so far, but it feels good and the episodes are really funny.
Insider: Like any good fan, I follow you on Twitter and saw that you wrote “I love my super secret job.” Care to explain?
Marti: It’s so super secret that I’m literally not allowed to say where I work, or what I’m doing. Suffice it to say, I’m not working for National Security. It’s a Hollywood job, although it’s being treated like national security. You’ll know soon enough.
Insider: Fair enough. And lastly, in a recent Daily Beast article you wrote about your favorite horror comedies, you listed Cabin in the Woods. Does that mean you’ve seen the movie The Whedonverse has been dying for?
Marti: I have seen the film that all of you are dying to see! And I love it. The movie is just brilliant. But I think it’s a movie that confounds executives and marketing people because it’s so demented and off the hook. They must be thinking, “what is this?!?!” But it’s so much fun, incredibly funny and really dark. It’s a really wonderful film.
Fright Night opens Friday.