Why do Day Shifts vampires behave like that, and what the filmmakers' stunt background contributed to Netflix's latest action comedy

Why do Day Shifts vampires behave like that, and what the filmmakers' stunt background contributed t ...

J.J. Perry is predicting that you have never seen vampires quite like this before.

Sure, many vampire movies have departed from the haunting, deliberate shambles of Nosferatu the Blade vampires, or the Twilight series' vampires, but Netflix's new film Day Shift elevates the horror factor to a new level, including contortionist work and an unusual camera technique.

Jamie Foxx returns as a vampire hunter who attempts to reclaim the Vampire Hunters Union's honor and bolster his estranged family's finances. The film is the directorial debut of J.J. Perry, a long-time stuntman and action coordinator.

Perry is a prolific stuntman who has worked on everything from major movies (Blade, Avatar, Iron Man, and the Fast and Furious franchise), to Oscar-nominated films (Argo, Warrior, and Django Unchained), as well as many other excellent action films (Id be remiss not to mention three personal favorites: Blood and Bone, Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing, and the Melissa McCarthy vehicle Spy).

Perry explained that his formal background played a significant role in preparing him for his first feature in films.

Perry explains that the technical filmmaking part of filming is infinitely more difficult and more complex. And also you have the risk that someone might be murdered on your set. So on top of that, you have to be able to deal with everything and still come out on top.

Perry comes from a long line of former stunt performers who have moved to the director's chair, and it's a history he's familiar with.

Look at [John Wick directors] Chad [Stahelski] and Dave Leitch, and it all started with Hal Needham from the American guys, then went to Jackie Chan. For me, Jackie Chan is the gold standard because he was a stuntman that became an actor, a movie star, and then became an action director.

From the very first moment when Jamie Foxx' character clears out a house of vampires, she contorts her body like crab walking or spider walking from movie monsters in The Ring.

Perry ran the film in reverse for extra effect, an idea he's had for almost a decade.

Perry told Polygon that he is dyslexic. So when I edit, I watch it forward, and then I watch it backwards. So that sparked the idea. I pitched those reactions to every director Ive worked for since 2014. Theyre like, I don't understand it. It's just absurd. So when the opportunity came for me to utilize it, I was like, I got something fresh and different.

Perry and the team faced unique challenges as a result of this new technical approach.

Perry adds that shooting in reverse has a lot of tellings. Hair, clothing, and smoke in the background. The research for that was extensive.

Perry hired some of the best stunt performers in the business and cast them as vampires, along with mixed gymnasts and rhythmic gymnasts, and youve got a fresh perspective on one of the oldest film monsters.

Perry explains that four different actors played the older vampire in the opening scene, including an actor who was thrown through glass, a combat double for hand-to-hand combat and a contortionist for special moves.

Perry got the film approved because of an old pal and that scene.

Perry says, once we got the script set up in a manner that we liked, I used that pre-viz to get the film approved. We sent [the script] to [John Wick series helmer] Chad [Stahelski], and he became hooked. He walked right into Netflix and got it approved. Bubba, here we go!

Day Shift brings an MMA-style fighting technique to its vampires, an addition to the previously boxing-centric genre. Perry has introduced this change in Undisputed 2, taking a series that was previously boxing-centric and reintroducing it to what was then the emerging world of MMA.

Perry adds that MMA changed everything because of the expectations. You're watching MMA and you're watching people hit each other, and then you turn on a movie and all of a sudden the punches are stacked in a strange manner? It's how you capture it, how you include it in the choreography.

Perry's sincerity in choreography is vitally important to him, and it's something he shares with the rest of his team.

Perry says, "If weve done it before, let us not do it again." There will be things that we have to do just because we have to do them, but let's never say "Well, lets just do the old." I said if we say that, we die a small death.

Perry's vision was aided by a more-than-capable movie star, Jamie Foxx, who is leading the way, as Perry will explain later.

Perry believes that getting the opportunity was the real winner. However, getting Jamie Foxx was like winning the lottery.

Perry and Foxx collaborated on Django Unchained, with Perry as a stunt performer. Both were born in Texas and graduated from high school in the same year. Foxx claims to have performed all of his own stunts with the exception of a few dangerous wire gags and wrecks.

Perry says: I want to be Jamie Foxx, and it makes my damn teeth hurt. Hes a true master of his craft. He is generous. Hes kind. Hes a physical genius.

Perrys has worked with many physically gifted actors before, pointing to his roles with Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton on Warrior, Dwayne Johnson on The Rundown, and Keanu Reeves in the John Wick films.

Perry explains that the best strategy to savor being a badass is to transform a person into a badass. Make them the character.

Day Shift is now available on Netflix.