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Luke Evans’ tells on Dracula Untold

Luke Evans’ star has been on the ascent since his small but memorable role as Apollo in 2010’s Clash Of The Titans.

Luke Evans’ star has been on the ascent since his small but memorable role as Apollo in 2010’s Clash Of The Titans.

Last year saw him taking on the established ensemble in Fast & Furious 6 as the villainous megalomaniac Shaw, before playing Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.

This year, Evans will be reprising his role as Bard in the final Hobbit instalment, The Battle Of The Five Armies, and will also feature in the highly anticipated adaptation of JG Ballard’s thriller High Rise.

Before all that, however, Evans puts on the fangs as Prince Vlad in Dracula Untold, an origins story of sorts about how the world’s most famous vampire came to be.

“A lot of people were expecting another Dracula story ... but it’s very clearly not another Dracula story and that’s very important,” said Evans. “It’s about the human — the actual historical figure that Dracula was based on — who was as interesting as Dracula.

“Vlad was a successful leader; he reigned over a peaceful land, even though he was known for being Lord Impaler. He wasn’t impaling people on a daily basis. He wasn’t just this bloodthirsty violent man. He had the respect and love of his people and the admiration of his enemies.”

Evans said the evil character that everyone associates with Dracula was probably the result of thousands of years of loneliness and starvation and thirst for blood. “I don’t think we should assume he has always been that evil,” said Evans.

“There’s a transition in Dracula’s life from when he was a human to being a vampire to this very old vampire in the Bram Stoker book. It’s interesting to see that it isn’t black and white. There are flaws to a good guy and to a bad guy, and that’s why I like it.”

Q: You’ve done a lot of big films lately. Do you think starring in big movies has changed your life?

A: Doing Fast & Furious 6 and The Hobbit was a large portion of the reason I did Dracula Untold. It takes a while to get to that place and it has changed my life. It changes how people perceive you as an actor. I think that has definitely happened. I’m carrying a potential new (movie) franchise and one of the oldest film characters. It’s a big responsibility and a game-changer for me. It’s mad to walk down this corridor and see the big posters with me on them for the first time. It’s a big deal, it’s a really exciting moment, and I’m going to try to enjoy it.

Q: Do you believe in vampires?

A: No! (laughs) Somebody I met in Cannes recently had a brother who is a documentary film-maker. He had done a documentary about “vampires”, the people who live as vampires and drink blood. There are actual members of society who believe they’re vampires. She said it was such a dark side of society. Do I believe in the concept of vampirism? I guess not. But maybe that’s just me being hopeful that there aren’t people with big fangs lurking in the darkness! (laughs)

That said, there were a few moments doing this film when it was a bit scary. The transformation was quite scary for me, both psychologically and physically. It’s not a pleasant thing that happens to Vlad. It was an interesting thing to play as an actor, to be taken over by this dark, sinister power.

Q: Do you use anything else to get into the emotion of a scene? Music, perhaps?

A: Yes, music is a good thing and I don’t use it enough. I will be using it more. (Co-star) Sarah Gadon uses music in a big way and I remember we did an especially charged scene together and it was a big day. I’ve never had trouble with switching into a very dark, emotional place. I don’t know why, I just can. But this one day she was listening to music and it was a really interesting thing to use that as a tool to get yourself to a place that makes you feel solemn or melancholy. I’ve never had trouble getting deep and dark in my head. I don’t know why. I’m a very emotional human being, so maybe that’s why I never have trouble doing these massively sad scenes. (laughs)

Q: Do you ever take the emotion home with you?

A: I don’t take the emotion home with me, but I take the physical exhaustion home. There were times when I left the set — especially on Dracula Untold because it was a demanding role physically and emotionally — and I wouldn’t touch food or drink. I just slept until the alarm went off. There were days like that, but I try not to, especially when you’re playing such a heavy, dark character who’s in turmoil for the majority of the story. If you don’t switch off, it can become an incredibly unenjoyable experience. Interview transcript courtesy of UIP

Dracula Untold opens in cinemas tomorrow.

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