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Inside 'Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant' with the Film's Stars

John C Reilly, Chris Massoglia, and Salma Hayek Talk 'Vampire's Assistant'

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John C Reilly and Chris Massoglia

John C Reilly and Chris Massoglia in 'Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant.'

© Universal Pictures
If playing a vampire does for Chris Massoglia what it's done for Robert Pattinson, then Massoglia needs to prepare himself for lots of attention. Vampires are hot right now and Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant is the latest in a string of projects with the fanged ones as central characters.

Massoglia is a relative newcomer to the big screen, but he was joined by film veterans John C Reilly and Salma Hayek, among others, on the PG-13 film based on a popular book series. Reilly plays an older vampire who mentors Massoglia and Hayek gets to, once again, don facial hair to play the Cirque du Freak's bearded lady. Together for a press conference to promote the Universal Pictures film, the threesome talked about working on what could be the first film of a franchise.

John C Reilly, Salma Hayek and Chris Massoglia Press Conference

John, were you familiar with these books prior to being cast in this role? How cool was it to play the head vampire?

John C Reilly: "I was not familiar with the books before I was offered the movie, but it was great. This whole vampire tidal wave that’s happened lately wasn’t quite cresting at the time we made the movie. The first Twilight movie hadn’t come out or anything. My favorite vampire movie was Shadow of a Vampire. I thought that was really great. And, we were lucky enough to have Willem Dafoe in the movie."

"I became aware of the books through the script, and then eventually read all of them. I was always the one on the set going, 'You know, but the books say...' I came to really enjoy them."

Salma, what do you think about the vampire explosion and what do you like about vampires?

Salma Hayek: "I don’t have a fascination for vampires. It’s quite ironic. I’ve actually been a vampire in a movie, and I’ve been in love with a vampire in another movie, and yet I have no fascination whatsoever with vampires. But, I did love this script. It wasn’t the fact that it was vampires. I actually found the concept of the circus freaks a lot more interesting than the vampires, maybe because there’s been less movies done about that. But, it doesn’t matter what I like because they were interesting characters."

"I also liked that it was a film that is for young people, but it doesn’t treat young people as a cliche. It’s respectful of their uniqueness. It doesn’t tell them exactly what they’re supposed to think. It gives them space to take different things in different ways. I thought it was quite smart and refreshing, so that’s what attracted me to it. It just happened to be a vampire project. It also just happened to have facial hair, and it’s the third time I’ve done some kind of freak facial hair in a movie."

This movie ends in such a way that is very open for a sequel. Have they already talked to you about doing more films? Are you signed on for more?

John C Reilly: "We’ve been filming now for about three months. We’re almost done. It’s a big gamble on Universal’s part. No. If the movie does well, I’d assume there will be another one."

Chris Massoglia: "Yeah, I’m signed on for some more projects, and I’d love to do more. What I’ve heard is that if the fans really come out and support the movie, then everybody is really interested in making another one."

Salma Hayek: "We did sign a contract. We don’t know if it’s going to happen or not, but they made sure that we cannot just escape that easily - if it does well. I think it’s going to do really well, and I think it’s going to surprise many people."

Salma, what sort of tips can you give for growing and maintaining a beard?

Salma Hayek: "I think it’s very important to steam so that you get the root of the hair. It’s important not to drink a lot the night before, so that your hands don’t shake and you don’t cut yourself. And, at some point, it’s important to just let it grow and accept yourself with all the hair you have."

How did you like the fabulous red dress you wear during the Cirque du Freak performance?

Salma Hayek: "There were some amazing costumes in the film. [Judianna Makovsky] did a fantastic job. It was a really challenging movie for them. What I liked the most was that she really worked with you. We were all very picky about the character. It wasn’t just, 'Oh, I want to look cool.' We were all very intense about really creating a character. I know John was. You have to be. So rarely do you get a character that you can create something big and theatrical, that has a look and a world of its own. It was really exciting to work on."

Salma, your character in the film can see the future. Do you have any powers of prophecy?

Salma Hayek: "Do you know a woman that doesn’t have them a little bit? But, I don’t have them any more than the average."

How long before you let your daughter see this movie? Did she see you with the make-up and beard?

Salma Hayek: "Yeah, she saw me with a beard. She understands it’s make-up. She was seven months old and she was not freaking out. I explained the process to her, and she saw it and was fascinated looking at it, but she knew not to touch it because it was fake. She was with me the whole time and I had to show it to her or I wouldn’t have seen her the whole day. I couldn’t put it on and take it off."

Was it weird for you to see yourself like that, or are you just used to it?

Salma Hayek: "I’m not totally used to seeing myself with a beard."

John C Reilly: "You look good with a beard, though."

Salma Hayek: "John made me feel really good about it. He’d say, 'Oh my God, you look so hot with a beard,' and I’d be like, 'Really?' It was like when I was a whale and swollen from the pregnancy, and I’d never looked worse in my life and people said, 'Oh, you glow.' They have no words to tell you how bad you look, so they tell you that you glow, and then you feel like you glow. It was the same with the beard. They made me feel good about it."

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