INTERVIEW: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco take down vampires in Netflix’s ‘Day Shift,’ out Aug. 12

The movie was partly shot at OFS in Norcross and Gwinnett Place Mall.

Vampire hunting movies are a special sub-genre of vampire films. Even a former U.S. president got into the act in 2012′s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

In the case of Netflix’s new comedy/horror/action flick “Day Shift,” the vampire killers are blue-collar workers who have a union like plumbers and pest control workers.

Jamie Foxx is the protagonist with the odd name Bud Jablonski, a struggling San Fernando Valley vampire hunter who was booted out of the union for going rogue one too many times. While pool cleaning is his cover, he actually hunts down vampires and takes out their fangs to sell on the black market, sort of like poachers killing elephants for their tusks.

Unfortunately, he is nearly broke and finds out his ex-wife is going to move to Florida with their young daughter in a few days if he can’t scrounge up $10,000. So his buddy Big John, played with cool swagger by Snoop Dogg, vouches for him to get him back in the union so he can go off and kill as many vampires as possible to pocket some quick cash.

The tradeoff? The suspicious mullet-wearing union boss forces Foxx to work with annoyingly nerdy union rep Seth, played against type by Dave Franco. Seth knows bureaucratic union rules and gory details about vampires but can’t shoot a gun.

In other words, this movie is more “Zombieland” than “Django Unchained” or “Get Out.” It’s a pure popcorn film that relies heavily on quick-cut action scenes and often unscripted repartée between Bud and Seth, the odd couple. Franco at one point makes ridiculous squirrel noises. There is an amusing bit where the pair argue over the merits of the vampire “Twilight” movies. And when frightened, Seth has a bad habit of urinating on himself.

Foxx, in a brief interview along with Franco at the Four Seasons in Atlanta last week with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said as executive producer and lead, he sought out Franco for the role because he could see his verbal and physical dexterity.

“Dave would do like six different takes,” said Foxx, who has another Netflix film in the can called “They Cloned Tyrone,” also shot in Atlanta. “He’s like Robin Williams in a sense. What’s he got in the bag?”

“Jamie is truly the most selfless actor I’ve ever worked with,” said Franco, last seen playing a cocky murdered pop star in Apple TV+’s delightful murder mystery “The Afterparty.” “He encouraged me to do my own thing and infuse my own humor... He said, ‘I’ll follow your lead.’ That opened me up.”

J.J. Perry, the first-time director who has stunt credits for films like “John Wick: Chapter 2″ and “The Fate of the Furious,” wanted Snoop Dogg in the film and Foxx was able to make it happen. “He’s never been action star before,” Foxx said. “He went through training with us, getting his hands dirty. He has this giant gun Big Bertha mowing down vamps.”

Franco said Perry really rose to the occasions for the fight scenes. “Doing those action sequences, there was this palpable energy,” he said. “Before every take, his whole team in unison would yell ‘Ahhhh!’”

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

The outdoor scenes, including a lengthy car chase, were shot in Los Angeles. All the indoor set pieces involving vampire battles last year were done either at the cavernous OFS warehouses in Norcross off I-85 or the innards of Gwinnett Place Mall, which was shut down by the time the film arrived in the spring of 2021.

The art department also built a fake marquee outside the mall set in 1987, when the mall was supposedly abandoned, with vampire movie “The Lost Boys” included. A photo of the marquee The Atlanta Journal-Constitution took at the time went viral, many people thinking the photo was taken in 1987. In the movie itself, the marquee is seen for just a couple of seconds near the end of the film as the “Day Shift” heroes enter the mall to save Bud’s family.

Credit: NETFLIX

Credit: NETFLIX

IF YOU WATCH

“Day Shift,” out Aug. 12 for Netflix subscribers