Let’s be honest. John C. Reilly isn’t exactly the first person you would think of when “vampire” comes to mind. Yet, here he is, starring in Cirque Du Freak, director Paul Weitz’s adaptation of the first three novels in author Darren Shan’s series. Surprisingly enough, he pulls it off as Larten Crepsley, in spite of that wild hair, not to mention everyone’s current perception of Reilly being a comedy actor. I was surprised by the tone of this film. Off-kilter and dark. At least more grim than what the previews are selling it as.

John C. Reilly: One of the main appeals to the books is that Darren Shan doesn’t treat kids like kids. He lets his readers experience a ton of stuff. The studio will market a movie based on what people think they know me as. The last couple of movies have been comedies, so I think they added a bit more comedy to the trailers than what’s in the movie. There are comedic accents, but this movie is pretty serious and a bit scary.

Shock: You’re not your ordinary vampire in this, what was your take on Crepsley?

Reilly: What Darren did in those books was the guide for everything. It’s not like we made any decisions, character decisions, that were different from the books. In his world, the vampires are just people who can no longer be out in the daylight, they’re super strong, they’re able to drink blood to survive, but they don’t have fangs. What I liked is that they’re just people who lived a really long time, they’re not like these supernatural characters. We puncture the [archetypal bubble] in the movie. I thought it’d be interesting to play someone who’s born in the early 1800s and is still around now. Imagine what that would do to your brain. You’ve been through all of the changes in technology and all of that – what would that do? Are you wise? Cynical? Toying around with that. These vampires age slowly, but they’re not immortal.

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Just his hair makes me laugh out loud. I had trouble with him being cast in this part. It didn’t seem to fit but he seems to be taking the part seriously.

What do you think of Reilly as Crepsley?