'Dracula' star: There's a 'twist right at the get-go'
"Dracula" is rising again, but don't expect the exact same tale as the one written by Bram Stoker when NBC's 10-part version of the drama premieres Friday.
"We have really created our own world because it's set in the 1890s, which is when Bram Stoker actually wrote the piece," star Victoria Smurfit, who plays the "brutal and so vicious" Lady Jayne Wetherby, told TODAY. "We've skewed the period, but it's part love story ... it's part horror, it's part genre, but it's a TV series. We have time to fall in love with everybody — or hate them, by the way!"
The new version of the tale stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula, but he's posing as Alan Grayson, an American entrepreneur who wants to bring electricity to London. Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw) and Jonathan Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) are obviously part of the tale, as is Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann), but the characters are far from by-the-book.
"The twist right at the get-go is (Dracula) and Van Helsing are in cahoots!" Smurfit said. "You've opened up your world, right from there. Van Helsing and Dracula are not natural bedfellows."
Though Van Helsing may not be hunting vampires in this new version of the classic tale, that doesn't mean Drac is without enemies. In fact, the Order of the Dragon has kept the streets of London free of bloodsuckers for years before Grayson made his appearance, and they intend to keep it that way.
In a clip that NBC is sharing first with TODAY, a hunter takes on Dracula in a scene featuring some "Matrix"-worthy moves. Like the show, Smurfit notes that it's "bloody and gorey."
The tale of "Dracula" may always center around the ancient vampire and his love for Mina, but there's more to this version than those two characters and their desires, Smurfit said.
"All the characters are striving for their love, for who and what they love, and all the characters have a really strong sense of how they're going to get it," the actress said. "There's something terribly 'all or nothing' about this show. There's no half measures."
"Dracula" premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on NBC.