Dracula Untold star Sarah Gadon plays the bride of Dracula in the origins story from Universal and not only did she get a front row seat to the man on every casting director’s wish list, star Luke Evans, but as a longtime fan of gothic fiction, she was in heaven bringing Vlad the Impaler’s journey to Dracula to life anew onscreen.
Gadon called Movie Fanatic from New York City for an exclusive chat about Dracula Untold, and as someone with a long history of being passionate about the legendary character, and as the star of the film that celebrates his beginnings, she has a unique take on what it is about the sharp toothed character that we still find so fascinating after all these centuries.
That first Dracula Untold trailer had us more than intrigued for this latest tale of Transylvania’s most iconic resident, and after hearing from Gadon about the making of the latest monster classic, we’re sure you’ll be ready to check out Dracula Untold when it hits theaters October 10.
Movie Fanatic: Your performance as the wife of Vlad and mother to his son really lays the groundwork that we understand why Vlad would do what he does. Was that one of the big appeals of this part? She’s not just a wallflower. She’s an active participant in what happens to this legend.
Sarah Gadon: Absolutely! That’s it exactly. At the time, I was really looking to tell a love story and when I sat to meet with Gary Shore (director), he said this was a big action film [laughs]. But, at the heart of it is this classic romance. He was so right. There is a beautiful love story at the heart of this film. And it’s the love of Vlad and Mirena that catapults all the action. That’s what drew me to the story.
Movie Fanatic: What do you think it is about the story of Dracula that we are still so intrigued with his legend centuries after its birth?
Sarah Gadon: Good writing is good writing and I think that Bram Stoker wrote a beautiful novel -- one completely enriched with imagery -- and I think that’s why it lends itself so well to so many different incarnations in literature and cinema. For me, it was really that. But, also vampires also provide a metaphor for us to explore themes that we are innately drawn to as human beings, such as love, withholding power -- all of those things are themes that don’t have any definitive answer. That’s why we’re able to explore them with a metaphor of a vampire.
Movie Fanatic: This is Dracula Untold, an origins story if you will. For yourself, heading into this, did you do any kind of research about the time period, Vlad himself or the legend of Dracula?
Sarah Gadon: I was a huge fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and gothic fiction in general. I’m a big fan of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and gothic romance novels. For me, I had had that literary background, but knowing that Vlad was a real person and learning about his story and his violence and violent relationship he had with his family and knowing that he was capable of that kind of violence was an interesting place for us to start with this story. Those kinds of things helped create a real person.
Movie Fanatic: How did your costume and makeup for Dracula Untold influence your characterization?
Sarah Gadon: Knowing that I was working with an Academy Award winner, Natalie Dixon, I knew that there was a strong vision. That’s really important for a Dracula film. Also when you have that kind of costume on, it dictates how you move. So, in a lot of ways that informs the character. And one of the greatest things about working on a period film is how much costume dictates your posture and who you are in the character.
Movie Fanatic: We can’t talk about Dracula Untold and not talk about the man who plays him. He’s kind of blowing up right now with his work in The Hobbit trilogy and now this. What was so special about this guy that he’s kind of taking over?
Sarah Gadon: [Laughs] I met Luke when I screen tested for the role and I knew that we had an instant connection. I knew that he was a really special actor because I knew most action stars know how to play the strengths and the masculinity, but can they play the sensitivity and vulnerability of the love story? Luke was special because he can play both sides and convincingly. That got me so excited for the film because I knew that we could do something powerful. He put as much into the physicality of the role as he did the emotional part.
Movie Fanatic: And someone else who is in the film that I just think the world of is Charles Dance. You don’t really get to work with him much, but what does it mean to you as an actress just to be in a movie with Charles Dance?
Sarah Gadon: Charles Dance is a legend. I was really excited when I found out he was going to be in our film. I didn’t get to work with him, unfortunately, but I knew that he was going to bring gravitas to that character. Boy, did he ever.