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Netflix’s Day Shift director shares why the vampires transfer like that


J.J. Perry is betting you’ve by no means seen vampires fairly like this earlier than.

Sure, many vampire films have damaged from the haunting, deliberate shamble of Nosferatu — the Blade vampires, for example, or the vampires from the Twilight sequence — however Netflix’s new film Day Shift takes issues to a different creepy degree, bringing in contortionist work and an uncommon digicam approach to amp up the horror component of this motion horror comedy.

The film, which stars Jamie Foxx as a vampire hunter attempting to get again within the good graces of the Vampire Hunters’ Union and in addition make cash for his estranged household, was launched on Netflix Friday and is the directorial debut of longtime stunt man and motion coordinator J.J. Perry.

Perry is prolific. The stunt man turned coordinator turned motion director has labored on all the things from large franchises (Blade, Avatar, Iron Man, the Fast and Furious franchise), to Oscar-nominated films (Argo, Warrior, Django Unchained) in addition to many, many different glorious motion flicks (I’d be remiss to not point out three private favorites: Blood and Bone, Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing, and the Melissa McCarthy automobile Spy).

That background went a good distance towards getting ready him for his directorial debut, Perry informed Polygon.

“[As an action coordinator], the technical filmmaking part of that is infinitely more difficult and more intricate,” Perry says. “And also you have the burden that somebody could get killed on your set. So on top of having a finite amount of time, and the pressure of the danger and all of that, you have to be able to manage all of that and still come out on top. So it’s a pressure cooker.”

Jamie Foxx as Bud and Snoop Dogg as Big John in Day Shift

Photo: Andrew Cooper/Netflix

Perry comes from a protracted line of former stunt performers who’ve moved into the director’s chair, and it’s a historical past he’s very acquainted with.

“Look at [John Wick directors] Chad [Stahelski] and Dave Leitch, and it started with Hal Needham from the American guys,” he says. “But it really started with Buster Keaton and then went to Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan for me is the gold standard because he was a stuntman that became an actor, a movie star, and then became an action director that changed the way that we shoot fighting.”

The distinctive tackle vampires in Day Shift leaps out from the very first scene, when Jamie Foxx’s character clears out a home of vampires. One of the vampires, an older lady, packs a imply punch, and when she and Foxx begin combating, she contorts her physique just like “crab walking” or “spider walking” from film monsters, like Samara in The Ring.

But it’s extra than simply contortionism — the vampire strikes in unimaginable methods. That’s as a result of Perry ran the movie in reverse for additional impact, an concept he’s had for almost a decade.

“I’m a little bit dyslexic,” Perry informed Polygon. “So when I’m editing stuff, sometimes I watch it forward, and then I watch it backwards. I was in Hungary doing a movie called Spectral in 2014. And I had a very flexible girl doing a reaction. I was watching and I was like, Wow, it looks better in reverse. So it sparked the idea. I pitched those reactions to every director I’ve worked for since 2014. And nobody wanted to use them. They’re like, I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense. So when the opportunity came for me to use it, I was like, I got something fresh and new.”

That new technical method got here with its personal distinctive challenges for Perry and the workforce.

“There’s a lot of tells when you shoot in reverse,” Perry says. “Hair, clothing, smoke in the background. The R&D for that was very extensive.”

Jamie Foxx, Scott Adkins, Steve Howey, and Dave Franco line up in Day Shift.

Image: Netflix

Perry employed a few of the greatest contortionists within the enterprise and put them within the film as vampires, together with blended gymnasts and rhythmic gymnasts. Add a touch of lucha libre and MMA strikes, and also you’ve received a contemporary tackle one of many oldest film monsters round.

The older vampire within the opening scene was performed by 4 totally different performers, Perry shares. In addition to the actor, there was a stunt double who was ratcheted by means of glass, a struggle double for the hand-to-hand combating, and the contortionist for these specialty strikes.

That scene, and an outdated pal, helped Perry get the film greenlit.

“Once we got the script going where we liked it I used that pre-viz to help me get the movie greenlit,” Perry says. “We took [the script] to [John Wick series helmer] Chad [Stahelski], got him excited. He walked right into Netflix and got it greenlit and bubba, here we are!”

In addition to the contortionism, Day Shift brings an MMA-style set of combating strikes to its vampires. It’s a change Perry has launched earlier than in Undisputed 2, taking a sequence that was beforehand boxing-centric and shifting it to what was on the time the burgeoning world of MMA.

“MMA changed everything, because of the expectations,” Perry says. “You’re watching MMA and you’re watching people really hit each other, then you turn on a movie and all of a sudden the punches are stacked in a weird way. So you have to always be creative. How many times have you seen a right cross in the history of filmmaking? How do we make that cooler and different? It’s how you capture it, how you put it in the choreography. Looking for the next thing is always what we’re searching for.”

That sense of freshness in choreography is vitally essential to Perry, one thing he impressed upon the remainder of his workforce.

“I just basically said to my team […] If we’ve done it before, let’s not do it again,” Perry says. “There’s going to be things that we have to do just because we have to do them, but let’s never say ‘Well, let’s just do the old...’ I said if we say that, we die a small death.”

Dave Franco is lectured by Jamie Foxx in Netflix’s Day Shift.

Photo: Parrish Lewis/Netflix

Perry’s imaginative and prescient was aided by a more-than-capable film star main the way in which in Jamie Foxx, as Perry will let you know himself.

“Getting the opportunity was the big win,” Perry says. “But getting Jamie Foxx was like winning the lottery.”

Perry and Foxx labored collectively on Django Unchained, with Perry as a stunt performer. The pair are each from Texas and graduated from highschool in the identical 12 months. Perry couldn’t assist however gush about his star’s efficiency, and says except a couple of harmful wire gags and wrecks, Foxx did all of his personal stunts within the film.

“I want to be Jamie Foxx so bad it makes my damn teeth hurt,” Perry says. “Working with him is a pleasure and an honor. He’s a true master of his craft. He’s good at everything he does. He’s generous. He’s kind. He’s a physical genius. What a master.”

Perry’s labored with many bodily gifted stars earlier than, and pointed to his work with Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton on Warrior, Dwayne Johnson on The Rundown, and Keanu Reeves within the John Wick films.

“The best way to fake being a badass is just to turn them into a badass,” Perry says. “Make them the character.”

Day Shift is now streaming on Netflix.

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