Earlier this week, "Dracula Untold," the 2014 epic from Universal and Legendary that starred Luke Evans as the war-torn leader forced into making a very literal deal with the devil (and turning into the famous bloodsucker we know so well), was released on home video platforms, including digital download. To make the occasion, Universal flew a bunch of journalists out to Romania to walk around ancient castles from the era of the real-life historical figure, Vlad the Impaler. I, however, was not one of those journalists. (When your invitation is delivered via bat, it's easy to see how it would get lost in transit.) So instead we got on the phone and spoke to the very charming Evans.
During the conversation, we talked about whether or not any previous big screen incarnations of Dracula inspired his performance, what the special features on the Blu-ray will offer fans of the film, where his character is going in the newly constructed Universal Monsters universe and whether or not he's still starring in "The Crow."
Moviefone: Did you take anything either from the original novel or from any of the other Dracula performances?
Luke Evans: Some of my favorite films are Dracula movies. "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is up at the top. But because of where we start this story and the fact that it's an origin story, which had really never been put to film before, I didn't use anybody else's Dracula performance or story to influence it because it felt like we were doing something completely new. You're also not dealing with the vampire at the beginning of the film, you're dealing with a human. He's the ruler of a very small kingdom in eastern Europe and a man who is fighting for the lives of his people and his kingdom. We all felt a very real sense of freedom to depart from the Dracula films that had been made and also the Bram Stoker story because this was several hundred years before he was even born.
Was that a guiding principle throughout the production? To do something that hadn't been done before?
Yeah definitely. I think there are enough vampire/Dracula movies out there. Vampires are a huge fascination and audiences love them but what we were trying to do was tell a different story. I think a lot of people who went and saw the film were shocked and excited by the fact that it wasn't just a straightforward Dracula movie. It was a powerful love story between this man and his wife and how he fights for it and it had a powerful, emotional core to it. I thought that was interesting and people were quite surprised by it.
The movie went through some pretty radical changes and now with this Blu-ray you're able to give people a sense of what it was. Are you excited for people to see that stuff?
Absolutely. There was a lot of work in every film and stuff gets cut and everybody feels a little sad to lose the work because you think about those hundreds of people who were on set that day or for that scene and so much time, effort, money, and creativity and building of sets and costumes and make-up and special effects... These are things that have to go into every single scene and when they're cut, you're like, "Oh my god." That's what's great about DVDs like this one -- we've really gone into depth with deleted scenes but we've also given people back story so they can see how we made those huge battle sequences. We had cameras on set all day long filming B-roll and doing little interviews here and there explaining what was going on and that's why we did it. I think they're really interesting. I love watching the behind-the-scenes stuff and bonus features. Peter Jackson is a huge supporter of it. We had people filming us for a year and a half and it's cool because sometimes you watch the movie and if you like the movie you want to see how it was made. It's going to be fun.
Would you like to see an entirely different cut with the stuff reinserted or are you pretty happy with how it turned out?
I'm pretty happy. I think the story works well as it is. I would be intrigued to see how those scenes would work and interact with the other scenes if they were put back in. But maybe that's just me being inquisitive.
Do you know anything about where your character is going? We see you in present day at the end of the movie and we've heard about the Universal Monsters universe. Do you know what your next outing will be?
I sort of do, very loosely. But obviously it is so under wraps that to talk about it would not be good for me or good for anybody, really. It's exciting and the wheels are in motion and it's cool to think about Dracula coming back in a different film and whoever he comes back with... The plans are huge and the ideas are massive.
Is Dracula your favorite Universal Monster?
Oh, without a doubt. He's the oldest and the best. He came to our screens in 1932. And he's still around 100 years later. He's a cool dude.
Are you still going to be The Crow?
I'm not sure. Scheduling and date-wise it's becoming a little complicated. It's been pushed back quite a few times. Right now, I have other things ready to go and that's what I'm going to be doing. If "The Crow" finally gets going and all the stars align, maybe I will. But right now: no.