Chris Massoglia makes his feature film debut this weekend in Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, which he hopes is the first installment in a new franchise about a commune of colorful outcasts drawn into a war between the peaceful vampires and the bloodthirsty Vampanese. “What I’ve heard is that, if the fans really come out and support the movie, then everybody is really interested in making another one,” Massoglia says about the new adaptation of the popular young-adult book series.
Massoglia plays Darren Shan, a smart, well-behaved 16-year-old kid with a bright future that nonetheless bores him to think about. When he and his delinquent best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson) get a mysterious invitation to an underground freak show, a chain of events unfolds that leads to Darren becoming a vampire himself and joining Larten Crepsley’s (John C. Reilly) troupe – not to mention putting product in his hair and dressing a lot more sharply, like that other popular teen vampire you may know from Twilight (its second installment, oddly enough, being directed by Cirque Du Freak director Paul Weitz’s brother Chris Weitz).
“I don’t really think I feel pressured to become a teen sensation ‘cause that’s not really my goal in life,” Massoglia says about the bloodsucker bandwagon. “It’s not really about being star, being popular or having lots of girls. It’s really about continuing to be able to act and have fun, and do what I like to do. For me, it’s just about learning and being there, understanding and developing my acting abilities, and being able to look for the next project, so I can act in it. It’s not really about being a teen star, so I don’t really feel pressured in that way.”
He’s well aware that this is a huge break for an unassuming rookie like him, and he’s taking it seriously. “This was my first movie and my first chance to really act in a movie. There are a lot of things about acting that are really fun, but at the same time, it is work and it is a job,” he says. “We were on set for 12 hours a day, for three and a half months. I was away from my friends and family, and I wasn’t playing sports. So, while the whole experience was really interesting and fun and I learned a lot, there were days that I had to work, like anybody has to do.”
Reilly helped serve as Massoglia’s mentor on the set. “I asked John a lot of questions, throughout filming, like ‘What was it like for you? How would you deal with certain situations?’ The biggest thing for me was just being able to observe how he worked with the crew members and different cast members that would come and go. It was fun, not only ‘cause I got to see how he acted professionally in what he does, but I also got to see how he related personally with all the other cast and crew. It was really awesome for me.”