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Sarah Gadon: Dracula’s Lady Love

October 08, 2014

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By: Lynn Barker

Okay, it’s another vampire movie but this one is refreshingly different. Ever wonder how Drac became Drac? In Dracula: Untold, filmmakers pose an interesting possibility.

In the movie, in order to save his son, his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon) and the kingdom he loves, Prince Vlad (Luke Evans recently of The Hobbit movies) seeks out an ancient sorcerer and enters into a life-changing deal. He will receive the strength of 100 men, the speed of a falling star and enough power to destroy his enemies. However, he will be cursed with an insatiable thirst to drink human blood. This ultimately leads him to embrace his destiny as the legendary vampire Dracula.

Beautiful Canadian-born actress Sarah Gadon plays Mirena and admits that she and Luke got along like “a house on fire”. We get the sense that these two had great chemistry. Sarah tells us that filming in Northern Ireland was beautiful but she spent one horrible day and night sliding down forest paths in the mud while freezing her fanny off!

Being royalty doesn't helpBeing royalty doesn't helpCourtesy of Universal

A huge fan of gothic romance books and vampire movies, the young actress was beyond thrilled to play the wife of Dracula… uh, before he “turned” and started creating all those scary “brides”.  Check it out!

Kidzworld: You had a major part in the movie Belle and there are a lot of bodice-hugging dresses and great hair in this film too. Did you like that?

  • Sarah: Yeah, but no corsets. Oh gosh, that was a request of mine. After we shot Belle I said “Ngila (Dickson, the costume designer), I don’t want to be running around in Northern Ireland in the mud and rain for five months in a corset. Please don’t put me in one.”

Kidzworld: They said “we’ll keep throwing mud at you but no corset.”

  • Sarah: (laughs) You’ll be able to breathe and eat.

Kidzworld: This film is gothic, romantic, spooky, everything a Dracula movie is supposed to be. How did you come onboard and what was the attraction for you?

  • Sarah: I met with Gary Shore (director) to talk about the film. While we were having lunch and he was telling me about the project, we looked up and Francis Ford Coppola (the famous director) was having lunch a few tables over from us and I thought “Oh my gosh, this is a sign. I have to be in this movie!” We were at a restaurant in L.A.

Director and crew downed by weatherDirector and crew downed by weatherCourtesy of Universal

Kidzworld: Did you say anything to him?

  • Sarah: We were both a little star struck. I don’t think either of us had the audacity to go up to him and speak to him but it was a real kind of crazy, surreal moment. Then, a few months later I screen tested with Luke Evans (who plays Dracula) for the part and I knew immediately that we have this kind of connection between the two of us and we would be able to do something special with the love story. As strong and powerful as Luke is as a leading men, he also has this ability to play sensitivity and vulnerability in a love scene. That’s what’s really special about him and really helped our storyline.

Kidzworld: It shows. Did you have a favorite Dracula movie? Were you a fan of vampires when you were younger?

  • Sarah: Absolutely. I grew up on Coppola’s version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (starring Gary Oldman as Drac) and I think that’s why I was so star struck on the day that we saw him. Then, as a teenager, I was a huge, huge, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fan.

Mirena and Vlad worry about their family and futureMirena and Vlad worry about their family and futureCourtesy of Universal

Kidzworld: So you watched that show religiously. Did you read the Bram Stoker novel growing up?

  • Sarah: Oh, I loved Bram Stoker’s novel and I’m a big fan of gothic romance literature. I’m a big fan of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” of “Jane Eyre” of a lot of gothic romance novels. It’s just a genre of writing I loved growing up, especially as a teenager.

Kidzworld: You started out as a dancer in Canada. You went to ballet school, yet you shot a film at around ten. Were these parallel things happening when you were growing up or did you like one more than the other?

  • Sarah: I really fell in love with performance through dance. That’s how I found performance really. When I was eight years old, I was cast in “The Nutcracker” in the National Ballet School of Canada and I remember everything very vividly; the audition and going to the costume fitting, rehearsals and watching the principal dancers from the wings and stepping out on the stage and that feeling of performance and everything that encompassed.
  • As I grew, I left the National Ballet School and went to art school in Toronto and studied fine arts in a broader sense. I went to a school called Claude Lawson School for the Performing Arts where half a day you fast track economics and the other half you study visual arts, mime, drama, dance and music. I fostered my love of the arts through that and started acting but my parents were very strict about me being in school so film and television acting were something that was going to happen on summer vacation.

Sarah (on right) in corset in Belle with Gugu Mbatha-RawSarah (on right) in corset in Belle with Gugu Mbatha-RawCourtesy of Fox Searchlight

Kidzworld: When was the moment when you decided that acting would be your career?

  • Sarah: I think I always knew that I wanted to be a performer or an artist in some way. When I went to the University and studied film and film criticism I really fell in love with cinema as an art form and it was while I was at UST that I got cast in “A Dangerous Method” which was my first kind of adult role. I think then I really knew that I wanted to be a film actor.

Kidzworld: Back to Dracula: Untold, was there a particular scene that challenged you in this film? Were there any tough spots in it for you?

  • Sarah: Yeah. We shot all the way up until November and Northern Ireland is pretty cold and rainy. We were outside a lot of the time making this film and it was just kind of us against the elements. I think one of the hardest days physically is when we were running through Tollymore forest on night shoots and it was freezing cold and pouring rain and the whole forest became like a mud slide and you couldn’t trudge equipment up there. We were all stuck up there and there was nowhere to go. It certainly was the antithesis of the glamorous Hollywood filmmaking I thought I would be privy to. But, I think all of those locations helped create a real atmosphere and tone for our film. Atmosphere is so important for a Dracula film.

Kidzworld: This is basically an origin story and loosely based on a real person; Vlad the Impaler. I don’t know if he bit people but he did impale people on poles. Were you interested in the fact that it’s based on a real person?

  • Sarah: Absolutely. We were pulling apart at the myth of Dracula and looking at the man behind the legend. Of course that was very intriguing to me because it was about the humanity of the story. Knowing the violent past of Vlad the Impaler, it was a really great place for us to start because we knew what he was capable of in future even though we meet him in this very peaceful time of his reign so it was really helpful.

Mirena (Sarah Gadon) worries about her husbandMirena (Sarah Gadon) worries about her husbandCourtesy of Universal

Kidzworld: I think this film is supposed to be kicking off the Universal monsters franchise like the Marvel superhero films. They want to have some crossover between monsters that have been part of Universal’s past. At the end, without giving away anything, it kind of leaves the door open for what could happen next in the Dracula situation. Are you signed for more Dracula films?

  • Sarah: Your guess is as good as mine as to whether we’ll do sequels. I’m not really in control of that. I will say that I loved working with Luke Evans. He’s a wonderful actor and a wonderful man. I would sign up to do anything he’s going to be a part of.

Mirena (Sarah Gadon) and Vlad (Luke Evans) hope they'll surviveMirena (Sarah Gadon) and Vlad (Luke Evans) hope they'll surviveCourtesy of Universal

Kidzworld: He’s pretty hot. So you guys got along well?

  • Sarah: Oh yeah. We got on like a house on fire. In as much as it was Gary’s first film, it was Luke’s first major leading role and my first major studio film so there were a lot of firsts and we were all just in it together.

Kidzworld: You just played Dracula’s wife and it's Halloween time. Do you have any special Halloween plans?

  • Sarah: I don’t have any right now but I’ve already thought up my costume. I really want to go as Tippi Hedren from (Hitchcock’s) “The Birds”. I really want to wear that green suit and have my hair in a bouffant and have a bird in my hair with blood running down my face.

Kidzworld: That would look awesome!

Dracula Untold PosterDracula Untold PosterCourtesy of Universal

See Dracula: Untold in theaters starting October 10th