On Friday, September 4th, Scream Factory will release the hilarious vampire-infused workplace comedy Bloodsucking Bastards, which stars Fran Kranz, Pedro Pascal, Joey Kern, Emma Fitzpatrick, Joel Murray and Yvette Yates. Directed by Brian James O’Connell, the film celebrated its world premiere earlier this year at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival and this weekend, Bloodsucking Bastards will arrive in select cities and on VOD.

Recently, Daily Dead had the opportunity to speak with Fitzpatrick about her role in the film, collaborating with her hysterical co-stars, and getting the chance to kick some vampire ass in Bloodsucking Bastards. Fitzgerald also discussed her involvement in another great recent horror film, The Collection—produced by the same team behind Bloodsucking Bastards—and how she sees the tide changing for female actors in Hollywood today.

Thanks for speaking with me today, Emma. I thought you were great in The Collection and Bloodsucking Bastards was just as great, but on a completely different spectrum. This is such a different role for you too; was that the appeal when you were first approached for the project? 

Emma Fitzpatrick: Yeah, I actually hadn't done much comedy as this point when we shot this. I was excited to get to do something funny. Also, the character is a little different because she's tough throughout this. In The Collection, there was a huge growth for that character and in this one, I think that Amanda is just tough. Then regardless of the scenario, whether it be dealing with people at work or having to slay vampires, she just kind of pulls it out and makes it work.

But it was great to work with the Fortress Features guys again; they produced The Collection, which is how I got pulled into this film. Then when they sent me the script for this I was so excited to be able to do something with them again, but also to see something a little different too.

Did you get to do any collaboration in terms of fleshing out the character at all or was it pretty much already there on the script? 

Emma Fitzpatrick: It was pretty much on paper. It was awesome that they thought of me for this role. There was probably, in their minds, a roster of people they knew. I was probably one of the more similar people to the character already.

But I do think that with any role, you want to bring yourself to whatever is already written on the paper. It was cool that Amanda feels just like a cooler, more heightened version of a lot of my personality traits already. She's just sarcastic and kind of quick-witted and can hang with the boys. And it was awesome that they thought of me. I've gotten to work with those guys a couple of times over the last couple years. It's just the greatest honor when anyone wants to work with you again in this business.

What's really great about Amanda is that she's sort of the voice of reason throughout all of this insanity. Was it hard for you to play the "straight man" throughout this? You're the voice of reason, almost like the audience, and yet, everyone around your character is just being hilarious.

Emma Fitzpatrick: When you have this kind of comedy that is so big and not slap-sticky, but the circumstances are so unbelievable to us, to ground it in reality and keep the audience with you on an emotional scale you need somebody that is expressing what they're feeling in that moment. It’s like, “What the hell are you talking about? You guys are insane,” instead of just buying it hook, line, and sinker because they saw somebody get eaten by a vampire.

It was also confusing to settle in shooting because everyone on set is so big and hilarious, especially all those Dr. God guys. They're a comedy troupe out here in LA that has been together for a lot of years. They just already work together so easily. There's this real comradery and repertoire between them. They know how they work and so walking into that was a little intimidating at first, definitely. Then, it was about trying to find how my character could still remain strong in this situation. How is she funny? How is she real? It was cool. It was a challenge for sure. That's why you do anything, to do something a little different.

I thought you and Fran had really fantastic chemistry in Bloodsucking Bastards—how was it working with him?

Emma Fitzpatrick: Fran is such a thoughtful actor. He really examined every possible scenario or every way you could say a line or every intention you can have behind a line when he would walk into the scene. What that allows for is a real sense of playfulness, regardless of how serious the scene is, because he's done so much homework and studied. He knows who his character is to the millionth degree. There is a real freedom in that. I learned a lot from him truly; just watching him process everything and then go through it in his head as an actor was an education for me, for sure.

Were you relieved when you read the script that this wasn't just a damsel in distress situation? You get to have a little fun at the end as well, with being involved in a lot of the action stuff and dealing with the vampire problem head-on.

Emma Fitzpatrick: Oh yeah. I read so many scripts as that damsel in distress or sort of where the female is just a non-character overall. With this, Amanda gets to be in that final fight scene and handle it just as much as the hero does. It was amazing. I'm flattered and honored that I would even be thought of for the part like this and the fact that these guys continue to bring me things that are interesting and fun, it's a real compliment.

There’s been a lot of talk lately, especially this year, about creating good roles for women onscreen and while it seemed that those roles were few and far between over the last few years, it does seem to be getting a little better now. Do you find that's a truism for you as well?

Emma Fitzpatrick: It's always been hard to find those roles for females. I don't know that it's getting harder. Women within this industry and elsewhere are just now speaking out about it more and being frustrated with those things. Yes, it's difficult to find roles that you're passionate about. Lots of actors building their careers will feel that way regardless of their gender.

That being said, I see a lot of great writing at the same time. I see a lot of female writers. I see a lot of people writing women as the central roles and smart and sarcastic. I can only hope to be involved in projects that I care about regardless. I think it's out there. You just have to keep demanding it. The more that we write characters like that and people are drawn to them. Like anything else, it’s all about supply and demand. Right?

And people want to see that. People want to see women that are real onscreen as much as they want to see men that are real onscreen.

I completely agree and maybe the rest of Hollywood is taking a little time to catch on, but it does seem like at least the horror genre is recognizing we don't just want hot girls with big boobs running through a forest that look really good when they're getting killed. Women are much more than just that connotation. 

Emma Fitzpatrick: It's true. Look at The Collection. My character was younger in that and I remember them being very particular about not wanting me to be sexy at all. They didn't want it to take away from the virtue of this woman coming into her strength.

So I don't know. I've had a lot of good experiences within the last six years and I've been fortunate to have a lot of people who have handed me things that are so creative and complex. The roles are out there, you just have to keep looking and be open and I know that I've been very fortunate to have several cool roles in my career so far, where I get to explore something totally different and unexpected.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.