Jonathan Rhys Meyers has revealed that his friendship with actor Christopher Lee encouraged him to make his own Dracula as different from Lee’s “iconic” performance as possible.
Speaking at the launch of Sky Living’s new drama series Dracula, which premieres on the channel on 31 October, Rhys Meyers said: “It is a role which has been played by many people. It was a challenge how could I make that role mine.
“I became friends with Christopher Lee 12 years ago. He was very iconic. I wanted to make my own Dracula.”
Lee played the role in a number of films including Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Dracula has Risen from the Grave.
Rhys Meyers added that his Vampire was three people in one – a cursed 15th century character called Vlad, the vampire Dracula and the persona he adopts in the drama, an American businessman called Alexander Grayling.
In episode one, the character is seen setting himself up in Victorian London and engages in plenty of bloodlust throughout the series.
Rhys Meyers said there was a sexual dimension to Dracula's blood drinking. Men he is happy to kill but he “only bites women....he reserves his teeth for women,” the actor said.
Other characters in the drama include Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw), the love interest who threatens to distract Dracula from his vendetta, and her friend Lucy Westenra, played by Merlin’s Katie McGrath.
Mr Selfridge star Oliver Jackson-Cohen is Jonathan Harker, Nonso Anozie as Dracula’s factotum RM Renfield, Thomas Kretschmann as the mysterious Abraham Van Helsing and Victoria Smurfit as vampire hunter Lady Jane Wetherby.