His off-screen bad boy shenanigans aside, model-actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers is raising hell in his new small screen role in M-Net Series Showcase’s horror thriller, Dracula. Debashine Thangevelo takes a closer look at The Tudor actor’s dark rise…
IN this era where vampires are all the rage and are sex symbols on TV and film (The Twilight Saga hasn’t lost its sparkle), it is interesting to see Dracula resurrected on the small screen.
After all, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals have a cult following.
Of course, Dracula now returns to its traditional roots – albeit underscored with a modern interpretation, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing the legendary fictional character.
Chatting to Craveonline.com, creator Cole Haddon said: “In Bram Stoker’s novel, you have a monster who is an Eastern European count who arrives in England really in control with his persona and startling everyone. So I wanted to hold true to that, but the character itself as presented in the novel just didn’t really have a lot of relevance today.
“It was so creepy and it’s a beautiful novel, one I love and I’ve actually reread about every four or five years of my adult life. But the character Dracula didn’t say anything that seemed worth turning to every week. So I wanted to hold true to that dramatic entry into London, but make him this American industrialist with this very specific vision for the future that would pit him against his historic enemies, a much more fundamentalist organisation.”
The 10-part series has all the entertainment trimmings: sex, violence, deception, love, lust and, of course, drama. Dracula opens with Meyers’ character resurrected by a blood sacrifice. Amid the Victorian aristocrats (he seeks out his enemies from the Order of the Dragon) he finds himself distracted by Mina Murray, a medical student who bears an uncanny resemblance to his dead wife Ilona.
Of his character, Meyers told TVLine: “Vlad Tepes is a 16th century warrior cursed with a demon: Dracula. This is where the conflict exists. Tepes, whom we see making an entrance in 1896 London society, is pretending to be an American industrialist named Alexander Grayson. I had to work very hard on the voice because it’s not like an American of Santa Monica today.”
On eliminating the Order of the Dragon, he says: “It’s like the Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. If you take away the army’s ability to sustain itself, then it can’t fight…So what (Grayson) is doing is trying to deplete (the order’s) army by rocking their finances. If you can’t pay your soldiers, your soldiers won’t fight for you.”
Although, we are a few episodes into the series, buffs are going to enjoy the mushrooming intrigue while Grayson finds himself distracted to no end by Mina.
Looking at Meyers’ career trajectory – he appears to have hit a plateau.
His proclivity for dark, dangerous and powerful characters appears to have become his Achilles heel. And he needs to replace that been-there-done-that feel with a character that goes completely against the grain. That will certainly be something he can really sink his teeth into – hint, hint.
Dracula airs on M-Net Series Showcase (DStv Channel 113) on Mondays at 10pm.