Sarah Gadon has been performing in film and television from a young age, building up an extensive and eclectic resume over the years.

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Recently, she’s appeared in films as diverse as A Dangerous Method, Belle, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In Dracula Untold, she plays Mirena, the wife of Vlad Țepeș (or, as he’s more commonly known: Vlad the Impaler). Together, they must face the threat of impending Turkish invasion, as well as Vlad’s transformation into monste.

Check out what she had to say about working on the film below!


Can you just talk a little bit about your character and what influences and inspirations you drew from in developing her?


Well, I was a huge fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Gothic Romance literature in general, so big fan of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Jane Eyre. I feel like the women in those novels always kind of start off super, kind of, feminine and passive and go through, kind of, this mega-journey of growth. And so, for me, it’s those kinds of heroines that I really drew on for our film. And then of course knowing that our film was an origin story, and it was about pulling apart the myth of Dracula and looking at the man behind this legend, and having the story of Vlad Țepeș and the history of Vlad Țepeș to kind of play with, knowing that he’s a man with an extremely violent past, and who’s capable of extreme violence, and knowing that was buried inside Luke’s character really helped motivate my character’s actions.


How was it collaborating with the director and Luke on finding the humanity in the tale, so to speak?


Well, I think, you know, we spoke a lot about how can we make not only this story more human, but, really, how can we make it accessible to a contemporary audience? We took scenes like the scene where you meet Mirena and Ingeras when they’re getting ready for bed, and there’s all this chaos, and they’re play-fighting with each other. We wanted to make that feel like the homes of many people, many people’s experience of chaos trying to get their kids ready for bed, and it was those kind of moments of more of a contemporary energy and realness that we felt was important to telling the story.


What were some aspects of working on that film that were rewarding to you either personally or creatively?


I think one of the scenes that I loved the most when I watched the film in its completed form was watching the fall [of Mirena from the tower], because they way we shot that I was on this giant mechanical arm being moved up and down, kind of harnessed to it with blue screen and wind machines blowing. And now, when I watched the final film and saw the incredible visual effects that they added to that scene to make it feel real and just so tragic and beautiful. I thought, to me, that was a very interesting example of where we’re at in terms of contemporary cinema today: all these layers of collaboration and kind of handing over your work to somebody and having them morph it into something else. It was really cool.


So, do you think any of these technical or computer generated elements, do they present any sort of acting challenges?


You know, it’s interesting, because sometimes people talk about visual effects, like, “Oh, there’s this new…” There’s all this anxiety and fear about special effects, but really, when you’re making a film, you have to suspend your imagination because there’s a million people standing around, and a guy with a  microphone standing in front of your face, and a huge camera there shooting you, and there’s all these things, challenges, that you have to kind of do to overcome your situation and just focus on the connection that you’re trying to make with the person in your scene. So, for me, it wasn’t that challenging.


And what about this project drew you to work on it?


Well, when I sat down to meet with [director] Gary Shore, he kind of said, “This is an epic action-adventure film, but at the heart of it is this kind of classic love story.” And for me it was this love story, this classic romance, that drew me to the project, because so often women in vampire films are suppressing their sexuality, or in this “forbidden love,” and really Vlad and Mirena have this pure, beautiful love for each other, and it’s a love that motivates all of the action of the film.

“Dracula Untold” hits theaters this Friday, October 10.

-Stephen Jones