It’s cold and windy and we’re in a field outside of Belfast. But there’s a reason, we’re here to check out the set for action epic Dracula Untold!
And we’re also meeting the cast and crew, including 27 year old Canadian actress Sarah Gadon. She’s best known recently for starring in a trio of films by fellow Canuck David Cronenberg – A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis and soon to be released Maps to the Stars.
In Dracula Untold she plays Mirena, a princess and wife to Vlad Tepes, played by Luke Evans. The story follows Vlad as he tries to protect his family and makes the ultimate sacrifice for his kin. In this interview we talk to Gadon about characters, shooting action and enjoying the Northern Ireland country side.
This was a group interview conducted on set on the 31st of October 2013.
CLICK: Can you tell us a bit about your character, you’re new to the story?
SG: Yea play Mirena and she’s a princess, she’s married Vlad and they had a son named Ingeras and they spend the majority of the movie protecting him and making sacrifices for him. And I think that’s kind of the really important theme of the film, it’s about what parents will sacrifice for their children. And to keep their family together.
CLICK: I saw on Twitter that you posted some pictures of the Giant’s Causeway. Did you enjoy your visit?
SG: Yea I loved the Giant’s Causeway! It was so beautiful and we drove through the Glens of Antrim and I just think that’s the best part about shooting in Northern Ireland – every location we go to is stunning and there’s so much to pull from that, we have the chance to shoot so many exteriors which is not very common on a big studio film. You’re normally talking against a big blue screen and it just helps your character. But it’s also very cold and windy [laughs]!
CLICK: You can draw on that history as well because it’s all so ancient.
SG: Yea. Definitely and shooting in Ireland gives you a sense of urgency because the weather changes every five minutes!
CLICK: Are you involved in many of the action scenes?
SG: I am involved in a lot of the large scale action scenes. Maybe not a lot of the war scenes but definitely we shot a lot of action in Tullymore forest and I got to throw a dagger! And in the castle siege there’s a lot of action there. So I do get to see a little bit of action, which is really amazing. And it’s also been a big learning experience because I haven’t shot much action before and so much goes into them in terms of the choreography and of course they involve so many people so they’re this big scenes you shoot over a number of days. It’s been interesting to see how that comes together for me.
CLICK: And you’ve got some dramatic scenes as well?
SG: Yea and I do get to bring the drama! I like to bring the drama!
CLICK: Have you had to learn any skills or anything like that?
SG: I had to learn how to throw a dagger!
CLICK: That’ll come in useful!
SG: Yea! I think a lot of it is just running, I’m on the move!
CLICK: What’s it been like working with Gary [Shore - director] on his first feature?
SG: It’s been great working with Gary. I think having a first time director tackle such an old story that’s been told a number of times is a really brilliant idea because he has fresh eyes and I think the idea of pulling it out of just the horror genre and planting it more into a fantasy/family film brings new light to the material and that’s what was really exciting to me. And I think that he has so much vigour and he has the capacity to really pull it off.
CLICK: Is it daunting being a part of something with that Dracula name in it? You have to chance people’s minds as this is a different kind of film.
SG: Yea maybe. I just believe in our film so much I think that it’s a real family film and I think people will want to go to the cinema to see it. And I think there’s so much for everybody in the story. So I think that you have these war scenes but also this beautiful love story and a story about a family. And so there’s just so many layers that it’s not just one dimension.
CLICK: Is it fun to play a princess?
SG: Yea its fun being a princess but it’s not very practical! You’re trudging through the forest and the mud and all of the elements. You kind of think – ‘how did they do this back then!?’ Thank god I can put on my Nike trainers and walk around the rest of the day!
CLICK: Everybody knows the Vlad story but your character is new, did you do any research or just trust the script?
SG: I trusted the script because I think you have to when you’re playing somebody who isn’t real. So for me it was more researching classical images and learning more about that period. And working with Ngila [Dickson] our costume designer to create a silhouette and that obviously influences how you move and stand. And all of that is very important in informing how the character is going to be. And so its things like that that I work on.
CLICK: Vlad had a twisted history but they’re making him more sympathetic here?
SG: In a lot of ways I think he’s more of an anti-hero because when he becomes Dracula he’s somebody that is inherently evil. So I think it’s that tortured element which really plays with the sacrifice for his family.
Dracula Untold is in cinemas from the 3rd of October 2014.
Read our interview with Luke Evans here.
Read our interview with director Gary Shore here.