Interview: Director J.J. Perry calls the day shift “a return to the 80s”


There is no doubt that stuntman-turned-director J.J. Perry had a great time working on the “Day Shift.” The film involves star actors and a film crew, and he lives in one of the most beloved genres of all time: comedy-horror.

Based on the script of newcomers Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten (“Army of the Dead”) Jamie Foxx stars in the Netflix movie as a seemingly ordinary father who just wants to raise his daughter and work at his pool cleaning job. However, it turns out that his main source of income is actually hunting and killing vampires. In addition to Fox, Dave Franco, Carla Souza, Snoop Dogg and Steve Hoey also participate in Day Shift.

Perry, who made his directorial debut in this project, is best known as a stunt performer/stunt coordinator in several Hollywood favorites such as Blade, John Wick and Django Unchained. Looking for his next big step, he immediately found himself attracted to the “Day Shift” scenario. “After I starred in John Wick 2, many people brought me scripts about traumatized soldiers and PTSD, as well as films in the style of John Wick.”

He continues: “As soon as I read The Day Shift, I started walking around the house. It reminded me of many movies I loved growing up. The script was brought to me by Sean Redick and written by Tyler Tice, as soon as I read it, I called and said, “We have to do this!” So Tyler and I started working on it, and we made it. a much bigger action movie.”

Game Rant spoke with day shift director J.J. Perry about how he was inspired by vampires, balancing the comedic and serious aspects of the storyline, allowing the actors to improvise and more.

Game Rant: Which vampire inspires you?

J.J. Perry: I was a big fan of “Lost Guys” and “Fright Night” — “Fright Night” is still one of my favorites. “You have to have faith for this to work. Mr. Vinson, remember? I mean, it was funny, weird and trivial. I’m not going to do a historical play like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, they’re probably not going to hire someone like me to do it. I’m an active guy. I’m looking for things that people will like. The world is dark now. COVID and monkey pox have a double feature. I just want to do funny things that will help people escape for a minute and laugh. Having these three elements: action, comedy and horror, I can make them jump, I can make them laugh and I can make them exclaim, “Oh shit!” when the action happens.

GR: I’d like to hear a little more about this. How did you use comedy and action to soften the serious moments taking place in the film? How did you balance these elements, but at the same time make sure that this is a real story?

Perry: I have a nine-year-old daughter, so Bud Jablonski has a nine-year-old daughter. My wife is a lawyer. That’s why Bud Jablonski was married to Jocelyn Jablonski, the King Kong of the wranglers. I’m on the road with all these stuntmen and women who are millennials, and I’m from Generation X. I love them, and we do dangerous shit all the time, all over the world, but I don’t understand the word they say. Snoop Dogg’s character reminds me of my old platoon sergeant. So, I brought things that would make the movie seem familiar to me.

I was worried about comedy, but when I chose Jamie Foxx, I didn’t have to worry about comedy anymore. And then when I watched the readout between Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco, and the whole cast, we all kind of wrote to each other, “Oh, my God, this is happening.” It was a perfect storm, and this is due to the fact that I have been in this business for 32 years and have been working on 150 feature films and more than 300 episodes on television. It was with many directors and film crews that I worked. the great ones do the right thing, you get a very strong opinion about what you want to do.

GR: Was there a lot of improvisation in the film?

Perry: I would say they used improvisation in every scene. I was counting on it. As a director, I have a duty to sign the script and shoot the script. I did my best, but then I let this Oscar-winning actor of mine and my amazing comedians do what they do.

GR: It looks like they really embodied these characters. What was your reaction when all this stellar cast came together?

Perry: When Jamie signed the contract, everything happened by itself. I’ve worked with Jamie before, we’re the same age, we’re both from Texas, and we listen to the same music. I’m just a big fan of him as a person. He was really excited about it because, come to think of it, he’s done a few action movies, but he’s never actually done anything like that. We’ve made it very clear that we’re not doing John Wick with vampires, we’re not doing that. We are shooting a comedy thriller with a return to the mid-80s.

GR: Have you been in touch for many years? How did he get on board the movie?

Perry: He showed interest in Netflix, and then they approached me. After Netflix gave it the green light, they gave it to Fox and he bought it.


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