I’m not sure if vampires or still a thing now (we’re onto zombies now, right? Or are we past zombies yet?), but even if vampires aren’t as popular with the kids as they were a few years ago Dracula never seems to go out of style. NBC’s newest drama Dracula is about the main vampire himself, as portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Though one might wonder what could be done with the Dracula character that has already appeared in over 300 films and television series, Rhys Meyers tells The Associated Press that he took the role with the idea of a new approach to Bram Stoker’s vampire.
Rhys Meyers confesses that though he is grateful for the role, he was previously hoping for something, well, a bit more typical. He says, “I was hoping I was going to get to play a generic cop or something, who’s got his lawyer fiancee who’s an uptown D.A.” However, he decided that if he was going to star as Dracula he was going to approach the character differently.
He points out that the series aims to stress the seductive side of Dracula rather than the demon side. He remarks, “If all vampires in all films had been made to look like Klaus Kinski in Nosferatu, nobody would be interested in vampires. As soon as they made vampires kind of good looking — well, there you go.”
Yet at the same time, he also wanted to avoid the other traditional portrayal of Dracula that was established in the 1931 classic Universal film. He explains, “I wanted him to appear more like a Howard Hughes or a Citizen Kane than I wanted him to be Drrac-ula” (purposely rolling the ‘r’ like Bela Lugosi). He adds, “I said to them, ‘There’s no way I’m going to do Drrac-ula. I’ll sound like a really bad Bond villain.'”
He then goes into a list of elements traditionally associated with Dracula that he wanted to also depart from. He says, “I didn’t want too many scenes of him biting people’s necks. That gets very boring. No bats, no garlic. I was even a bit (hesitant) about the crucifixes.”
Finally, he did not want his Dracula to appear in a Victorian era that was marked by stiffness. He says, “I didn’t want to go and make a period drama that was stale. Because Victorian England at that time wasn’t stale. It was a very keen, very eager time.”
Yet while Rhys Meyers is planning to do much that is different with his Dracula, he points out that his Dracula is still a villain… but he’s surrounded by people who aren’t inherently good, either. He says, “He must lose. That’s the thing I like about it, He’s a monster in the worst possible place — in a world of humans. And we know what humans are capable of.”