Eternal Hunger - A fansite for the immortals of Van Helsing

Interview with Richard Roxburgh
Van Helsing - Interview with the Vampire

read all of it here written by Jay Richardson

“What really interested me was that Steve wasn’t looking to run from Dracula’s history, or indeed the horror genre in general,” says Roxburgh. “He used it as a springboard and took it somewhere else with all the technology now available. I loved the sequences that really drew from the flickering lamplight and huge shadows of 1930s horror, which in some ways I feel hasn’t been surpassed. But I also got to fly on wires, which was great. I love that stuff.”

Scenes of Roxburgh scaling 30ft walls and walking across ceilings were actually performed for real, aided by a rigging crew. This gravity defiance he took in his stride, but dancing with Beckinsale proved more intimidating.

“She spent the entire time absolutely helpless with laughter,” he recalls. “We hardly got any practice and we were both atrocious. Luckily, we had some of the world’s leading authorities to drag us through it, the choreographer from Cirque du Soleil trying her best to make it seem we had the faintest idea what we were doing.”

Performing a similar role was a dialogue coach. “God, that was a balancing act. We settled on an accent that was largely Hungarian with some Romanian elements to it. The trick was avoiding the Sesame Street Count.”

“I wanted the character to draw on gypsy imagery, because the area Dracula came from is rich with Romany tradition, so I sought that. But if you believe Kate, I ended up looking like Adam Ant, which was hardly the intention. I prefer to think of him as a muscular Dracula, with a lot of rage, who I think got a raw deal. He made a pact with the Devil to live forever but now can’t feel anything. He’s still a gentleman, just a gentleman who made some dark decisions.”

“I can’t imagine Hugh will ever not be a thoroughly solid and grounded person. He’s incredibly focused and supports you, but he challenges you in a way too, because there’s no backing away from him. In the scenes between us, we’re toying with each other. There’s a quietly creepy sense of menace underneath, and he never backs away from that.”

“Like Dracula, I thought if they’re asking me, they probably want it to be slightly different to what has gone before. I enjoyed that it was closer to the original conception of the character, that it included the darkness and he wasn’t just an extraordinary brain puzzling away. He had real torments that he dealt with in his own way, an injection of charlie every day!”

“I don’t really have preferred roles except those with some complexity,” he muses. “If you’re playing a villain, you like to have a rationale. Why is this person behaving in that way? It can’t just be ‘I’m going to kill them all, I want to take over the world!’ Because then your character becomes a functionary, the hero’s opposition and nothing else. You can’t derive any pleasure from that.”

Enthused by Sommers’ direction, he had no such concerns filming Van Helsing. “Steve’s extremely aware of his American brashness and the need to temper it. I think the natural darkness of Prague helped as a balancing act for his humour – those worlds he delves into, the gothic landscape became the counterbalance. He draws from this dangerous energy, you can’t imagine what the source is. It’s not drugs, maybe yoga or something. Either way, it’s positive energy, very forward looking.”

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