from Manchester Evening News / by Ian Wylie
IF you thought you were having a bad day, just take a look at this picture. It’s mild-mannered Hustle star Marc Warren transformed into Dracula (BBC1, Dec 28, 9pm), in a new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel.
“The first time I saw it, it took me back a second. For a moment I didn’t recognise myself,” says Marc.
“Luckily, I spend most of the film as younger Dracula. But there is something quite relaxing about having the prosthetics put on you. I can just sit there and let them get on with it.”
Playing the 900-year-old count, who is king of the vampires, meant Marc had to endure four-hour sessions in the make-up chair.
“They start with my neck and the sides of my face. Then hands with long nails. It’s when they put the forehead on me – that’s the real moment, when it comes over the top and I can open my eyes.”
He spent some of the four hours learning his lines, as well as looking at scripts for the new series of Hustle. It started shooting the day after Dracula finished.
“I had to pace myself and be very focused. It was a bit like cramming for a test. Once I’d done a scene there was no opportunity to think about it. It was straight on to the next.”
Marc enjoyed getting his teeth into the role but adds: “It was a hard job. I suppose I felt the pressure of suddenly going up another step on the ladder. That’s what I’ve felt recently.
“With that comes a bit more pressure, and you just want to get it right. I’ve had some fantastic parts this year, very diverse. It’s just that fear of failure. But you’ve got to do that. You just up the stakes a bit.”
The 90-minute “stylish and sexy” festive chiller co-stars Sophia Myles as Lucy, Stephanie Leonidas as Mina, Dan Stevens as Arthur Holmwood and David Suchet as Dracula’s nemesis Van Helsing.
“The film deals with obsession and addiction, and Dracula is fired by both. He’s an addict and a serial killer,” explains Marc. “He’s got a need and he sets out to fulfil it. He’s completely single minded about it.
“And there’s a very sexual element to it. It’s not just about sucking blood. He wants to completely possess his victims, be they male or female. I think I really understand what he’s about. It’s not a great leap of the imagination to get what’s really going on.
“It only occurred to me during filming that this is part of the horror genre, as I’m not scared by him.
“I think that will appeal to viewers. They can really get into his world – the bit that appeals to the dark side of them too. In some people that does get out, the crazy bit that wants to go wild and not go home. But most people keep it firmly under lock and key.”
Marc didn’t know a great deal about Dracula before taking the part.
“I just know what everyone knows – he bites people’s necks and doesn’t like garlic. And I had an image in my head of Christopher Lee sweeping about in a cloak, which I must have watched at one point.
“I hadn’t read the book, but I have now. I read it during the filming. I’ve also watched Klaus Kinsky in Nosferatu.”
He also admits to being slightly overwhelmed by the enormity of the Dracula mythology.
“Yes, it did swamp me a bit. There have been so many adaptations and so many great actors have played him. But you just have to get on with it. It’s like playing Hamlet – you have to do your thing.”