You play different characters in the series: Dracula, Vlad Tepes and Alexander Grayson. What can you tell us? Vlad is really the main character. He becomes Dracula at the last moment before anger makes him lose his footing. Dracula is the embodiment of his inner rage. As for Grayson, this is the name he uses to manage his American society.
When Dracula appears in the guise of businessman Alexander Grayson, sometimes he can bear the sun. How does he do this? So that he can expose himself to the sun, my accomplice Van Helsing has created a serum that allows my heart to continuously pump blood and therefore keep me alive. But the remedy has a limited duration. After a few hours, Dracula must quickly get to the shelter from the sun.
What can you say about the relationship you have with Mina (Jessica De Gouw)? The obsession Grayson has for Mina is physical because it reminds him his late wife, Ilona, who was burned alive. Mina plays the double of Ilona. So my personage concentrates all his desire and his attention to it, with the idea to recreate and find his wife, although he knows that Mina is not Ilona. This is something that tortures him enormously.
Have you been inspired by many actors interpretations of Dracula before you built your character? No, not really. I’m not in to the kind of old horror movies of the fifties The first time I saw a vampire movie, it was that of Werner Herzog titled Nosferatu, Phantom of the night. I did like Count Dracula by Klaus Kinski. I also like Willem Dafoe in the film Shadow of a Vampire (Shadow of the Vampire) and Gary Oldman, who was wonderful in the role of romantic Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. But I can not really say that these different interpretations which preceded mine have influenced my game. I did not take anything of it sincerely
If you’re not inspired by previous actors to play Dracula to embody your character, what were your influences?You obviously had influences.. I’m an actor so obviously I’m inspired by others work. But for Dracula, I didn’t want to be ”influenced” by previous actors’ work. Here’s the difference. But for example, in episode 2, there is a scene where I bite the neck of a woman, then I put my head back to show my face with blood streaming. I got inspired by a scene from the film Midnight Express where Brad Davis pulls the tongue of a man with his teeth, then pulls back his head to spit the blood in the air.
I heard that you had some problems with the denture element that are essential for biting scenes.. What happened is pretty funny. I actually need a dental prosthesis, which is also extremely realistic. A true craftsmanship! The only problem is that when I spoke with the prosthesis, I had a lisp! It was so hard to understand my lines that technicians had to double my voice in post-production. He had to because Dracula speaking with a lisp was anything but scary..
Christopher Hall, producer of Dracula said you were perfect for the role because you have a very dark side in you. What do you think? Well, I am, okay. I got the role because I am also a diabolical vampire (laughs)! No, let’s say I can fully understand the psychological distress experienced by the person, being myself in life a person extremely tortured. It does not take me a lot of research efforts to play the character ..
Have you read Bram Stoker’s novel before starting to film the series? Of course. I find it pretty good, but it is not great literature. Say that it is the sensational literature of the nineteenth century. Bram Stoker was sort of the Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code) of his time
Dracula is both a vampire and a human being. How do these two personalities can they conflict? I do not see Dracula as a monster or as a supernatural being. I see someone who is bewitched and trapped by a terrible disease against which there is no cure. The writers have kept this little human being inside of a monster, which creates a conflict and this duality is the real curse of character
This is the first series that you turn from The Tudors. Were you reluctant? Yes, I was very reluctant to start this new project as doing a series is equivalent to filming four films. Entering a character can be complicated because it has a lot of different facets, it is a very long process. Keeping the same concentration is not always easy.
You already incarnated Henry VIII, a sulfur and diabolical character in The Tudors. Why do you prefer the roles of the wicked? People always ask me this question! I think the bad guys are always multifaceted characters. You really have to dig to understand, and I find it much more interesting. What good is playing a nice character? The only thing we ask is to be beautiful. Finally, this is just my opinion
You’re playing this character who never dies, what do you think of immortality? Immortality scares me. Everyone wants to be eternal. We want to be eternal to 29 years, when you are fit physically healthy and not bad .. But what about when aging a little more every day, we can not walk, when life becomes grueling rather than something beautiful that can be enjoyed?
This is the first time you are producing, why did you do it? Just because I wanted to have an overall view of the series and especially that it is consistent with the vision that I had. I really wanted it to be upbeat and aesthetically perfect. It was essential for me. To have a say on these subjects, it is necessary to be a producer. That is how we impose ideas
How was the shoot? It was really exhausting, even though I do not really have the right to complain because I love what I do. The way I work is, I must say, pretty particular, since I never go really my character. I was very isolated because of its nature. Once the day was over, I went home, read a little and then I slept. This was my routine. I must admit that I have not been particularly friendly during filming.
While you were filming in Budapest, your best friend and your grandfather died in London. What was the impact of bereavement in your work? I went to London immediately, then I organized the funeral. It is true that life can be terribly difficult. On the one hand, it deals us traumatic experiences, on the other, it offers us moments of incredible happiness. And I think I have been pretty lucky in my life. Once back on the set in Budapest, I transposed my character all my pain and my pain. It was my therapy.
One last question. Are you at a stage in your career where we/they come to you or do you still need to audition? For Dracula, I didn’t audition, they simply came to me. 3 years ago, I met Werner Herzog for Queen of the Desert. I had this appointment but I didn’t get the part. I think it’s probably for the best if I don’t do auditions