Jonathan Rhys Meyers Tackles Classic 'Dracula' Role for NBC

Image: Jonathan Rhys Meyers Tackles Classic 'Dracula' Role for NBC Jonathan Rhys Meyers, left, and Victoria Smurfit in "Dracula."

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 03:14 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Count Dracula is coming to network television.

The vampire, who has haunted screens since 1922's "Nosferatu" and been portrayed by renown actors Bela Lugosi, Gary Oldman, Jack Palance, and Frank Langella, among others, will be embodied this time by Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers in a stylized piece that takes Dracula back to the his early days.

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NBC's "Dracula" series debuts Oct. 25.

"In the world of 'Twilight' and 'True Blood' and all the contemporized vampire stories, we thought we would go back to the original, and the book is still really fresh and really original, and we have an incredible script," NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt told The Washington Post

Greenblatt described the program as a new version of Bram Stoker's classic.

"We're very excited about it," he added. 

Rhys Meyers told the New York Post he was intimidated by playing another evil historical person after his 38-episode run as King Henry VIII on "The Tudors," as well as following a long line of other performers.

"I have to say there was a weight on my shoulder," Rhys Meyers said. "I really loved Gary Oldman's version and 'Nosferatu.' But I knew it was going to be a network show, and I was going to find a way to make it fascinating within those parameters."

Greenblatt and Rhys Meyers previously worked together on the "Elvis" miniseries for CBS, and "The Tudors." Greenblatt said the show will evoke images of 1896, but will still look "to the future and hopefully be a really cool, new version of 'Dracula.'" 

In this version, Dracula is an American industrialist living in London's high society as he searches to harm those who forced him to live throughout eternity.

Rhys Meyers told the Post that he was cast as a villain because he looks like one.

"I suppose there's a kind of feral element in me," he said. "It's just part of those energies that encompass me." 

There are some differences between Stoker's original 1897 novel and this version, notably that Abraham Van Helsing is a medical school professor and Dracula's ally, rather than the famous vampire hunter.

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