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Lucy Fry often plays characters with benevolent souls, so she jumped at the chance to finally break bad in Netflix’s Night Teeth. In the Adam Randall-directed film, Fry plays a 200-year-old vampire named Zoe, who, along with Debby Ryan’s Blaire, are trying to shatter a centuries-old truce between vampires and humans in Los Angeles. Oddly enough, Fry and Ryan were initially considered for each other’s roles until they suggested otherwise.
“I haven’t had the chance before to play the bad guy, so that was really exciting to me,” Fry tells The Hollywood Reporter. “What’s interesting is that [director] Adam [Randall] was originally thinking of me for Blaire and Debby [Ryan] for Zoe. But Debby had recently played a character who was more of the bad guy and she wanted to play the humanity of Blaire. And since I often play that kind of character where it’s about the heart and humanity, I was really drawn to playing someone who’s a little more of a raw nerve and likes to create chaos.”
Fry, who previously worked with Netflix on David Ayer’s Bright, holds the streamer in high esteem since creative freedom is felt across the board.
“Netflix gives the filmmaker and the artists a lot of freedom to create the story that we want to create,” Fry says. “Adam also gave me full rein with my character, Zoe, to do whatever I wanted to do. And I think it was because he, too, felt so much freedom as a director to tell the story the way he wanted to tell it, which is much more grounded and gritty than what it had originally been on the page. And Netflix gave Adam the freedom to do that.”
The Australian actor is also an avid surfer, and she would jump at the chance to tell a story involving surfing and gender equality.
“I dream of playing a surfer because I love surfing so much. So I’d love to do that in a film,” Fry shares. “There are so many more women surfing these days than there were when I was a kid, and the history of female surfing is really empowering, especially now with equal pay and how far women have come since the ’80s when they were paid almost nothing to do the World Tour. Now, all of the work that so many professional surfers and women have done has brought it to the point of getting equal pay. So there are so many really cool stories about female surfers and that’s something I would love to be a part of.”
In a recent conversation with THR, Fry also looks back at how intense it was to play Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife, Marina Oswald, on Hulu’s 11.22.63.
So Night Teeth is quite different from your first go-round as vampire royalty in Vampire Academy (2014). Was that quite a relief once you dug into the material?
Yeah, I wouldn’t have done it if it was similar to Lissa and to that first vampire project. What really drew me to Night Teeth was how fun, thrilling and irreverent it is. There’s a lot of humor and even sarcasm at points. So I thought it was a really different vibe to what Vampire Academy is.
Did you also appreciate the chance to play a character this flashy and larger than life?
Yeah, I was really drawn to how wild, spontaneous and fierce Zoe is as a character. I haven’t had the chance before to play the bad guy, so that was really exciting to me.
It was quite the contrast from the last time I saw you, which was in She’s Missing. So I’m pretty sure it’s the flashiest role you’ve ever had.
Definitely. What’s interesting is that [director] Adam [Randall] was originally thinking of me for Blaire and Debby [Ryan] for Zoe. But Debby had recently played a character who was more of the bad guy and she wanted to play the humanity of Blaire. And since I often play that kind of character where it’s about the heart and humanity, I was really drawn to playing someone who’s a little more of a raw nerve and likes to create chaos. Yeah, it was definitely the first time that I’ve gotten to play such a flashy character.
Zoe is quite intense for someone who’s a 200-year-old “money manager” or “bagwoman” for this vampire organization. Did you remotely try to play the fact that she’s 200 years old?
(Laughs.) I brought that out in how playful she is. On this night where they’re overthrowing the system of how the gangs are run in L.A., she’s in this position to finally take the power for herself and for her best friend after many decades. So it means everything to her. At the same time, because she’s so old, she’s attempted these coups countless times throughout her life. So I played it like she’s having a lot of fun while doing it because it’s easy to get bored when you’ve been alive for 200 years. (Laughs.) So making the most of each moment and being a little kooky and wild in the process of it felt like how I should express her age.
Were the fangs pretty durable for the most part, or did they fall apart rather easily?
They were actually super durable. The people who made them were really talented. They would clip right into your teeth, so I loved them. They just felt like teeth, the texture and everything. They were perfect fangs and I loved them. (Laughs.)
We’re in the midst of a vampire resurgence right now after the last peak in the early 2010s. When you think of vampire movies, what is your go-to?
I love Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows because of how funny and irreverent it is, and I watched it again before doing Night Teeth. So I felt a lot of joy around the irreverence of Night Teeth and how it can be that kind of tongue-in-cheek playful aspect of the world.
You and Debby have a cool fight scene at a club, and it takes place in the background while Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is centered in the foreground of the frame. Given the size of the frame, I can’t imagine you had much room for error in terms of the blocking.
Yeah, so Debby has been boxing for a few years, and I’ve been doing American Kenpo Karate for a few years. And when we started doing the stunt training, Adam noticed that we had really good control. So he created the scene knowing that we could do it ourselves and he choreographed it so that we’d be in the background and would be able to come to the foreground. And the stunt team that we worked with were incredible. We both loved the fight training so much, and getting to kick some ass was also something that attracted both of us to this film. So leading up to that scene, the two of us rehearsed and blocked everything out so that when we got to shoot it, we would only need to do two or three takes of that scene. But we were both like, “Aw, I wish we could keep doing it more,” because we were having so much fun. It was a real highlight of making the film.
How far along were you guys when the shutdown hit?
Our last day was the 13th of March, and then it was shut down. We had filmed everything that we needed to film in New Orleans, and then we had two weeks of L.A. scenes left. So we had a six-month break between filming the majority of everything and then coming back and finishing the L.A. portion of it. So there was definitely a different quality to the feeling inside of it once we came back after the six months.
Were there any silver linings that emerged as a result of the shutdown?
I think Adam rewrote a couple of scenes, and then he added a scene. Netflix, at that point, had seen what we had created so far and were really excited about it. So they gave us the freedom to actually take more time when we went back to finish filming. So it did have that advantage. Netflix had time to see what Adam had edited together, and they supported the film even more than they were before.
You mentioned that you shot for two weeks in Los Angeles. Is it still pretty rare to shoot in L.A.?
Weirdly, I find that I shoot here fairly often. With Bright, we shot everything in L.A. and then those two weeks shooting Night Teeth. So I think I film in L.A. and New York quite a lot, which is surprising.
Oddly enough, I recently spoke to your fellow Bright elf Noomi Rapace.
Since you mentioned it, what was your favorite day as an elf?
It was probably that climactic scene I shot with Noomi where our sisterly relationship came to the fore, and her character tried to get my character, Tikka, to go back to this dark side, their homeworld. And I remember Noomi just being so in it and so intense. I remember meeting her energy as it kind of amplified in both of us. I felt so alive in that scene and it was a real highlight.
[This next question and answer contains spoilers for Night Teeth.]
At the end of Night Teeth, Zoe makes quite a memorable sound. Was that a rather interesting day on the ADR stage?
(Laughs.) Yeah, I was in Australia at the time, so I did ADR from a booth in Australia. We had done maybe four hours of ADR already, and then I was like, “All right, let’s do our death by fire and burning from the inside.” (Laughs.) I experimented with different kinds of screams and once I got to that one, I was like, “All right, maybe this is it?” (Laughs.)
No pun intended, but was your voice pretty fried after an ADR session like that?
(Laughs.) Yeah, pretty much. I just had to go home and go to bed because all of the vocal work is exhausting. But I love it. I love doing the accent and the character voice. All of it.
If I was an actor, I would love Netflix because 213-plus million people around the world can watch my movie instantly, and I don’t have the opening weekend gross hanging over me. Do you concern yourself with these sorts of things, or do you just focus on the material?
For me, it’s very much about the material, the character, doing my best work on set and bringing everything I can in the moment. I tend to not think about results in that way, but at the same time, I do notice Netflix having all of those viewers and not having the pressure of an opening weekend. So Netflix gives the filmmaker and the artists a lot of freedom to create the story that we want to create. Adam also gave me full rein with my character, Zoe, to do whatever I wanted to do. He is a brilliant director and he created the framework in which all of the actors could play and have freedom. And I think it was because he, too, felt so much freedom as a director to tell the story the way he wanted to tell it, which is much more grounded and gritty than what it had originally been on the page. So this version of the film is really great and it’s the best way that it could’ve been made. And Netflix gave Adam the freedom to do that.
I first saw you in 11.22.63 as Marina Oswald. Did it feel eerie recreating such a dark time in history, opposite one of its most notorious figures [Lee Harvey Oswald]?
Yeah, it was really eerie. I did a lot of intense character work to play Marina Oswald and to portray the toxic relationship that she had with Lee, as well as the love that she had for him. So it was a really complex dynamic to play. We even went and filmed in Lee Harvey Oswald and Marina Oswald’s house.
Yeah, I remember going into the house, and because I had invested so much in the character, something really strange happened. When I walked into their house, I felt like my head was spinning and it was almost like the floor was moving. I’ve never had that kind of experience before where I felt queasy from the ghost of a character’s energy while inside a place where she lived at the age that I was playing her. She’s still alive, obviously, but there was just something about the energy that was still there and having embodied it so intensely. So I just had this physical reaction while inside the place where these really intense experiences happened to her. It was definitely one of the most intense character experiences I’ve ever had.
I went to Dealey Plaza about a decade ago, and besides feeling eerie, I remember thinking that the entire space seemed more compact in person.
Yeah, we filmed around there, also, and it was so weird watching the recreation of the shooting. It was very eerie.
So you probably knew how good George MacKay was years before the world caught on to that fact.
Oh yeah! Brilliant actor and a brilliant human being. George is such a good person and he’s so dedicated to the craft. Yeah, he’s amazing.
I recently rewatched She’s Missing, and a topic came up that’s been talked about a lot lately. And that’s how the world, namely media coverage, tends to give priority to certain missing persons over others. So has the recent case in Florida reminded you of that movie’s subject matter?
Yeah, with that film, the director, Alexandra McGuinness, said that when she was driving through Middle America, she kept seeing posters for missing young women. And that was where the idea for the film came from and just that question of, “Well, where have they gone? What’s happened to these people?” And that also became a question within the film itself and how people can go missing from themselves if there’s no place for them in a culture. Obviously, for anyone to go missing, it’s such a strange, ambiguous loss because you just don’t know. Not knowing is the most terrifying part, I think. There are questions that will always be unresolved. It is something that happens all over the world in so many different situations, and this Florida case brings all of that up about all of the people who have gone missing. It’s kind of hard to speak to because there are so many unknowns.
What are you still dreaming about doing in this business?
There are a lot of things that I would love to do. I would love to collaborate on a project that I could be a part of from the beginning in terms of potentially writing a story with someone. I know that I don’t have the skills yet to do that by myself, but I have a lot of ideas and enthusiasm, so I hope to get there. But there are two kinds of general roles that I would love to do. I dream of playing a surfer because I love surfing so much. So I’d love to do that in a film. There are so many more women surfing these days than there were when I was a kid, and the history of female surfing is really empowering, especially now with equal pay and how far women have come since the ’80s when they were paid almost nothing to do the World Tour. Now, all of the work that so many professional surfers and women have done has brought it to the point of getting equal pay. So there are so many really cool stories about female surfers and that’s something I would love to be a part of.
Also, I love to paint. I live in New York now, and when I go to MoMA [Museum of Modern Art] or the Met [The Metropolitan Museum of Art] or any gallery, I’ve noticed how there are many more female artists from the different periods being represented, like Hilma af Klint and Leonora Carrington. These women are finally getting the credit for their work. I know that it’s really difficult to make films about artists because the act of painting isn’t dramatically or visually intense. So to find the right story to tell about an artist can be challenging, but if I can figure out the right story to tell and crack that story, playing an artist would be a dream.
Night Teeth is now streaming on Netflix.
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