So now that leaves us with one role yet to be cast, that of Jerry's day watcher Billy Cole. Clearly Billy isn't a vampire or he'd be sleeping late like his sunlight-phobic boss, but he isn't entirely human either. Even the original Billy, Jonathan Stark, isn't quite clear on the topic. At a reunion screening panel back in 2008 (via Icons Of Fright), when asked what Billy is, Stark revealed, "You know, I have no idea!" That's when writer-director Tom Holland chimed in to clear things up a bit. He likened him to Dracula's Renfield and said, "I thought he was half-human and half-vampire. But he hadn't crossed over yet. So he could be Jerry Dandridge's alter ego/helper. He could exist during the day and in daylight. That he had been bitten, but enough blood hadn't transferred."
Whether Billy's a half-vampire, zombie or whatever, the remake's director, Craig Gillespie, will still need someone to fill the role. Who should be the new Billy? Check out who I've got in mind after the jump.
1. Sam Rockwell: Ever since seeing Fright Night for the first time, I've always thought Rockwell looked a lot like Stark. The only striking difference is that Stark towers over Rockwell, 6'3" vs. 5'9". This could pose a serious problem since the character of Billy was always meant to have a massive appearance. During that same panel, Stark admitted, "I actually put pads in my shoes, and put like 5 shirts on to look as big as I could." An asset that's on Rockwell's side? His ability. The guy who plays Billy has to be able to go from overfriendly caretaker to distract the detective to a super scary snarling zombie-like being trying to take down Charley. Rockwell has loads of fantastic performances, but that particular description makes me think back to when he played Eric Knox in Charlie's Angels; all-around nice guy one second, deadly villain the next.
2. Cillian Murphy: Like Rockwell, Murphy would have some height issues with the role, but his knack for donning a mean mug would make up for it. In Batman Begins it wasn't just the Scarecrow mask that made Dr. Jonathan Crane a particularly menacing character, it was Murphy. Even the way he announces Batman's presence at the beginning of Arkham Asylum battle sequence is chilling. Returning to the nice guy-turned-baddie concept, do you recall Murphy's performance in Red Eye? He charms Rachel McAdams' character with ease at an airport bar only to go completely psycho on her when confined to adjacent seats on the plane midair. Save for the third act violence, the terror of Murphy's character comes from his calm yet threatening demeanor, a quality that can be useful in portraying Billy Cole.
3. Mackenzie Crook: Mackenize who? Mackenzie Crook, the guy who played Ragetti in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Ragetti? The Black Pearl pirate who ditches Barbossa for Captain Jack Sparrow in the second film; the one with the removable eye. In the Pirates film he plays a semi-evil henchman and is primarily there for comedic relief, yet a menacing side is always evident. He's also another guy with the ability to make you love him one second and then pour on the malevolence the next. His screen time in Solomon Kane (which I'm not quite sure is getting a US release) is limited, but he manages to make his scene one of the most memorable moments in the film. At first it seems as though he's trying to help our bruised and battered hero, yet it always feels as though he can snap at any moment and, sure enough, he does and it's downright frightening.
What do you think of these three potentials? Think someone else would make a better Billy Cole?