With director J.J. Perry’s Day Shift now streaming on Netflix, I recently spoke to Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco about making their vampire action movie. Foxx plays a hard-working dad that works as a pool cleaner. But what his family doesn’t know is the pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income — hunting and killing vampires. Franco plays an employee at the vampire hunter union, which pays hunters for killing vampires and selling their fangs. When the two are teamed up against their wishes, they must make the best of a bad situation, which leads to a lot of funny moments where each actor gets to shine.
Day Shift also stars Snoop Dogg, Karla Souza, Meagan Good, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Oliver Masucci, Steve Howey, Scott Adkins, C.S. Lee, and Zion Broadnax. The screenplay was written by Shay Hatten (John Wick: Chapter 3, Army of Thieves) and newcomer Tyler Tice. Shaun Redick, Yvette Yates, Jason Spitz, and Chad Stahelski serve as producers.
During the interview, Foxx and Franco talk about the awesome opening fight scene between Foxx and an elderly vampire, how the film balances humor, action, and serious moments, what it was like filming the movie in forty-two days, the world of Day Shift, how it’s more than John Wick with vampires, and more.
Watch what they said above, or you can read our conversation below.
COLLIDER: I had so much fun with this and some of these action set pieces are so good. Let’s just go into the opening one. And I’m sorry, Dave, that you’re not in this one, but that opening-
DAVE FRANCO: Oh, please.
That opening fight sequence with the grandma is fantastic. Can you talk a little bit about filming that sequence because it’s such a great fight?
JAMIE FOXX: Listen. To me, that’s what sold me on the film. When JJ showed me the previz of that, I said, “Yo money, what is that? How is this lady, this old lady doing it?” And he says, “The contortions and this.” So when we started shooting that, that was the one thing that I couldn’t wait to get into because I wanted to see how I would look in that. And, it turned out amazing. The trailer, I say this all the time, the trailer that we put out, overperformed, and it did 19 million views in less than 24 hours. It’s because when they see that shotgun blast and blow that old granny into the kitchen and people were like, “What is that?” And so, that really piqued everybody’s interest. So, I can’t wait for people to tune in and check that out, because it goes hard.
FRANCO: But when you’re shooting a grandma into the wall with a shotgun in your first scene, that really sets the tone for the rest of the film, and you know you’re in for a good time.
FOXX: For sure.
FRANCO: It’s a really good way to come out of the gate.
The tone of this movie is interesting because it’s funny. It can be serious. And it’s also action-packed. Can you talk about the fact that J.J. does a really good job balancing? It’s a tricky thing to do.
FRANCO: Definitely. Yeah. I mean, my initial talks with JJ, he basically said, “Hey, I got the action covered.” That’s his element. That’s where he thrives. And he said to us, he’s like, “I want to lean on you guys for the comedy. I want you to do your thing.” And so, that basically gave us permission to just go nuts and just have fun with each other. And I give Jamie so much credit because he helps set the tone too from the get-go where I remember one of the first scenes we shot was one of the more serious scenes. And so, I came in early on, and I was trying to do a good job. And I just wanted to make this scene have real weight to it. And Jamie came to me, and he was like, “You know what? Yes, let’s give this weight. Let’s make it have stakes, but also let’s put a little comedy in here.”
FOXX: Yeah, yeah.
FRANCO: And so, that was the kind of mindset the whole way through where he understood. He’s like, “If we can infuse as much comedy as possible, it’s just going to add that extra layer that makes this movie that much more fun.”
FOXX: And I knew I had the right guy to do it because I literally told JJ, “I don’t want to do the movie unless Dave Franco’s in the movie. I’ve been tracking this dude for years, man.” And I tell people all time, “I’m a comic snob. I’m the comic elite.” People may make me laugh, but I want to know how he was making me laugh because he was doing it in such a clever way. So by having him in that capacity, man, every time he came to work, he’d have a little bag. “You got something in your bag?”
FRANCO: I got a little something for you.
FOXX: A little something. So he killed it.
Also, Xavier on After Party. I just have to plug that because I love that, but anyway.
FRANCO: Thank you, man.
So, the other thing is you guys shot this in 42 days, which is not a lot of time for people that don’t realize the making of movies. Did you ever feel the pressure when you have such a finite amount of time? Could you sort of talk about the challenges of having a tight shooting schedule?
FRANCO: I mean, JJs a machine. He moves so fast, he’s been shooting second unit action on the biggest movies in the world for the last decade. And so, he knows exactly what he’s doing. That said, we put so much work in before we started filming in terms of the training. So that when we got on set, everyone knew exactly what they were doing. But I’m telling you, on a normal set, if there’s one stunt, normally everyone kind of circles up, and it’s like, “All right, guys, this is the big stunt day.” And we’re all talking about it over and over and so much pressure. And JJ, we had fifty of those stunts every day. And so, he’s just… He’s worked with this stunt team for so long, and they’re so dialed in, and it’s just this infectious energy where before every take, JJ literally screams, “Who wants to try one?” And then, sixty of the best stunt people in the world, all in unison go, “Ah,” and so we all just feed off that energy, and we just move.
FOXX: And, what’s crazy is that allowing us to get in and do those stunts, this guy right here, man, he is a real athlete. Don’t sleep on his stunt work. We don’t want to give stuff away, but when he does his thing, it is crazy, which hopefully fingers crossed people will start watching this, make it super hot so we can do Night Shift. And then we can do that thing together.
FOXX: But everyone, everyone was doing their own stunts. Snoop came in, he was training with us. And JJ shoots in a way where he’s letting things breathe a little bit. And so, you can actually see it’s us doing it as opposed to… There’s some action movies that are cut up so much that you almost can’t even tell what’s going on.
Oh, don’t get me started. It makes me crazy as a movie fan when I’m like, “Oh, there’s 10 cuts in one second. Oh, I got it. I understand what this is.” You know what I mean?