Exclusive Interview: Jaime Murray on Fright Night 2: New Blood

Fright Night 2 Jaime Murray

CraveOnline: Okay, so I imagine it's thick, sticky, gross Karo Syrup.

Jaime Murray: Oh yeah. I think there may have been fungus growing in it, at the end. Flies. It was wonderful.

Does that give you some freedom? You can wear like, a skin suit underneath or something like that?

Oh no.

No? Well, I admire your dedication. Are you method? Did you ask for real blood?

It was interesting, you know, I actually studied at a method acting school in the UK… Drama Centre, which is known in the business as "Trauma Centre". That's how method it is but I actually studied Meisner, which I love. So, I don't know if I consider myself a method actor but I must say, which surprised me about this because there is a lightness to Fright Night. It's horror, coupled with comedic moments, which is a really interesting balance to get. You've got to get it right, otherwise it's neither scary or funny. So, you've really got to get that balance right and I think that they did really, really well. Obviously, some characters bring humor to it more than others. My vampire's very charismatic and charming, which is kind of funny in moments, on its own. What surprised me was that in order for me to go there, even though I don't consider myself "method" method, I kind of felt a bit icky at the end of the day. I wasn't sleeping particularly well. I felt pretty grubby. It was probably part of the sticky bloodbath, as well.

And the fungus.

But it was like, being that monstrous and needing to go there, to kind of be real, there was an inner-ugliness I had to pull out, which made me think about… I don't know how many horror movies any sane actor can have in them. You know what I mean? If you want to go there and you're not protecting yourself and you're actually going there, it kind of is uncomfortable. You have to allow yourself to have murderous thoughts to shoot a scene like that and I don't know if I necessarily think that's particularly good for me. I love that.

You know, I talk to a lot of people who play a lot horror villains, and in real life, they are the nicest human beings. I wonder if that's like a defense mechanism in some way because otherwise, they'd go mad.

Well, it's interesting because I have played some very complex villains. Whenever I meet people, they're like, "Oh my god. You're so sweet," and "You're so this," or "You're so that." I am drawn to complex characters but I'm not sure why I get those characters, or whether it's, I don't know, a commitment or generosity of spirit that I'm willing to go there and put it away. I don't know.

You also have to have sympathy for those characters, too.

I have immense sympathy and that's one thing I would say about this vampire is… You know, awful people, they never think that what they're doing is awful. They think that it is what they have to do and she does feel… Gerri, my vampire does feel that she is justified, that it's the only course of action for her and there are moments where she almost feels sympathy, or sorry. She doesn't really have empathy. Vampiric people don't really have empathy. They're true narcissists, psychopaths, but I think sometimes she feels almost affection for her victims, which is even creepier, more wonderful to play. And you know, whenever I play dark characters, the only way that I can go there with any kind of conviction or weight is to kind of think about how they got there and that's always pitiful, thinking about the choices that people make and the justifications they make to do really bad things, so that's interesting to me as an actor.

In the last Fright Night, we didn't really get to know about Jerry, the vampire. We didn't get to know about his past.

I feel as though you do, a little bit more, in this one. There was one scene in particular, where… I think there might even be moments where you sympathize with her in like, her creepy twistedness. I don't know. I mean, I'm biased. I always say, "When you're playing bad characters, you can never judge them as bad. You have to be the best lawyer you can be for that character." Otherwise, it just doesn't work so I'm always biased. Sometimes, I'll play characters, and I did it with Lila on "Dexter" and I couldn't believe the vitriolic hate people had towards this character. I was like, "She was so damaged!" But you know, I had to go there. I had to feel compassion for that woman in order to play her.

Well, from the audience's perspective, I almost feel that we respect people like that because I think a lot of us are trying to  be the best person we can be all the time, and it's like, "Ah, it'd be nice to just let that out and kill everyone. Just everyone I know." 

Yeah. That's why "Dexter" is so powerful. In the season I did, it's all based around the Dark Passenger. I do feel as though I have played one dark passenger after another since then. Before I went to drama school, I studied philosophy and psychology and when you read a psychology book, you never study happiness. You never study a healthy mind. All you study is a diseased, or unstable, or unhappy mind. That's what certain psychologies study, really.

It's almost backwards, in a way.

Well, that's what a lot of self-help books say. "We need more books that study what it is to be happy," and there is more of a movement. There is stuff like that but I would say that I do have a fascination with workings of other people and I am just as fascinated by what distorts them and perverts them. I do feel as though playing these twisted, awful characters, as odd as it sounds, I do feel more compassion and love for humankind because it's made me think about people that I find difficult, or ugly, or mean and unattractive and think, "Everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they've got."

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.