Under the Radar

'Dracula Untold': Vampires as Military Tactic

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Dracula Untold tells the origin story of the world's most famous vampire, in a tale inspired by the historical Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia and his battles to save his people from the Turkish invaders. Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, Bard in The Hobbit movies) plays Vlad the Impaler and advances the idea that Vlad chooses vampirism as a military tactic to gain advantage against his enemies.

The movie is out this week on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD and serves to reintroduce Dracula to a new generation. There are persistent rumors that Universal plans to launch a Marvel Universe-style series of overlapping movies using its classic monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Invisible Man and this movie ends a flash-forward to Vlad roaming the earth in modern times.

We've got an exclusive clip with interviews from the film's military advisors and stunt coordinators about the staging of the battles against the Turks. We also talked to star Luke Evans about reviving the role and the movie's military approach.

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I'd like for you to talk about "Dracula Untold" as a military film, as a war movie, as opposed to a horror film.

Yes, it is. There's two big wars, two big armies. Well, one big army and one small army. Historically, Vlad Tepes, or Vlad The Impaler, as most people know him, was quite an accomplished leader. He was a king or prince of a very small country, but he managed to keep it from being invaded for quite a long period of time.

That came down to his strategies as a leader and also his training, because he was reared by his enemies. His father sent him to live with the Turks when he was a child, so he was brought up as a Turk and trained as the Turkish trained in all of their fighting techniques and all the different weapons they used, so he was quite an accomplished fighter. I thought it would be interesting to bring that into the character.

But, in the end, he fights alone. It's a man who has the power of a hundred men, but he's able to rally his people. They believe in him even when they know that he's turned into this dark creature.

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It's sort of a more masculine take on playing a vampire. There's less of a dandy about it in your approach.

Yeah. I mean I wanted to make him feel like he was war-torn. He had scars on his back from battles. And he's a father, he's a leader, he's a husband. He's one of the men. He's a working prince.

So you guys are in Romania now?

Yep, in Bucharest, it's my first time in Romania.

So are you feeling the Vlad vibes while you're there?

Outside it's very, very foggy, like the thickest fog I've ever seen. So it's got an eerie feel about it, so, yeah, I'm feeling the vibe.

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Are there plans to make a sequel? I know there's an idea that Universal Pictures is going to revive all their classic monster characters. Have you talked about continuing in the role?

There have definitely been discussions. It's very exciting. There are lots of ideas being thrown about at the minute about how and what and what context and what story. Whatever happens is going to be a big, big storyline. Right now, it's about formulating the whole project with this idea of bringing all the monsters again together. I'd be very happy to bring Vlad back to life.

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What are our readers going to see you in next?

They're going to see me in a film called High-Rise, which is Ben Wheatley's movie, which is about the adaptation of a J. G. Ballard novel by the same name.

I play a war documentary maker who's not working. He's a bit of a drinker and he's a bit of a womanizer and he's called The Agitator in the book. And so he's a bit of a character, but I really enjoyed playing him. That comes out next with Tom Hiddleston, myself, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, and Elisabeth Moss.

It’s based on a 1970's novel about the future. It's about high-rise living from J. G. Ballard's perspective if it went wrong and became very dystopian, how people would survive and how they would be socially. It's a very, very bizarre story, quite dark, and slightly twisted. It was a really enjoyable departure from playing the hero in a period drama or something like that, so I really enjoyed every minute of it. It was great.

And I'm going to be in Ben's next movie, which is Free Fire, which is about an arms deal in Boston that goes wrong. He's written it. He's a very talented man. It's quite exciting.

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