Jaime Murray will be familiar to many as the conniving alien Stannah Tarr in Defiance and the manipulative Lila in Dexter, but she’s playing a more visceral, more monstrous otherworldly being: Fright Night 2‘s seductive vampire Gerri Dandridge.
SciFiNow talked to the star about why she was excited to make her vampire a monster, the pros and cons of prosthetics, and being covered in blood in Romania.
Were you excited to get the chance to play a vampire?
I was. I’ve always been fascinated with the vampire myth and I was like watching True Blood and other vampire movies and thinking “Come on! When’s my time coming? I’ve got black hair and white skin, I look like a vampire when I’m in Tesco!” So when this script came in I was really excited, it was always an interesting myth to me.
Your character has the seductive, sensual aspect to her but we also see her as this bestial monster. Was it exciting to get to play that duality?
Yeah, Eduardo Rodriguez really won my heart, he didn’t feel compelled or necessarily tied to the previous Fright Nights, which were very successful and we’re obviously part of the franchise, but he was really up for doing really weird and wonderful, new and innovative things. He really wanted me to be an ugly vampire as well as what we consider a vampire to be, charming and seductive and win you over and make you invite them in.
All those things that we associate with them, he was also like “She’s not a human being, she’s not of this species.” So she’s got this huge ugliness within and sometimes we’re going to show that and it’s going to be really disturbing. And so it was, other than the stickiness of running around covered in Romania covered in dirt and very sticky blood, I was really happy with that choice.
There’s a lengthy bath-of-blood sequence. How was it being covered in fake blood for that length of time?
Well you know it’s funny, it is sticky and I hadn’t realised the gruesomeness of it. It was a little bit disturbing. You walk onto these sets and they’re so good, the set designers and what they’ve done, they’re spooky places, and you’re like “Oh! I have to get into the bath of blood! Oh and now I have to be a monster? OK!” So it was challenging!
I’m always happy with the result. I mean, if I never had to wear another contact lens in my life there would be no complaints from me. Just putting an alien contact in my eye is not my idea of fun. In fact it’s the stuff that nightmares are made of. On Fright Night I had to wear the contact lenses that cover the entire white of my eye as well, and I was covered in blood and dirt and I had big claw-like nails on so I couldn’t even scratch my own nose so this is other people putting things into and out of my heavily made-up eyes.
So it’s a challenge. I’ve never met an actor that’s been excited about it but it’s something that you do because the results are so interesting and so different and so otherworldly and I do think that the vampire myth is something…Well, the more I investigated it, it’s not something that I want to take lightly. I don’t know how many horror movies I have in me but looking at all that darkness and looking at why we might be telling that myth, you know I was looking at Freudian and Jungian analysis of the vampire myth and why we keep on telling the same story over and over, because it has a meaning for the collective conscious.
And I think that there was a time when our cultures had very strictly enforced religions and as somebody who went to a Catholic school I have my own feelings about having religion forced upon people, but on the other hand now we live in a world where people don’t automatically have that sort of light to be filled up by, you have to be careful not to let the darkness in.
I think that’s ultimately what the vampire myth is about to be, anyway. It’s pretty ugly and I don’t think it should glamourised too much, so I think that the fact that I was feeling uncomfortable and behaving in a very ugly monstrous way, I think it was in fitting with the piece.