‘Interview With the Vampire’: Ben Daniels on That Bloody Season 2 Finale


When we shot the majority of the theater stuff in Episode 2, I’d been doing “Madea” for three months on the West End. I finished on a Sunday, and on Wednesday or Thursday I was shooting that whole sequence. So I was already primed when Levan [the director of Episode 2, Levan Akin] said: “Do it like a theatrical performance. We’ll take care of everything.” They filmed everything wide with four cameras, so we didn’t know when we were on and when we weren’t. You just had to keep at it. It was relentless, and he shot it brilliantly.

In Episode 7, just before Claudia dies, being on that stage was like doing a play. We shot that courtroom sequence in 15-minute chunks. They were insane. A lot of the time there were no cameras onstage with us. They were either on cranes, so they were sweeping in and out, or it would only be Emma [the director of Episode 7, Emma Freeman] shooting, doing all the close coverage first so you get these fresh performances immediately, not at the end of three days or whatever. Then all the cameras went away, so you never saw them again. It became like a play.

Is it tricky, as an actor, to play an actor with a … different level of talent?

Poor old Francis. Yes, he’s never achieved the giddy heights that he would like to have. He’s a big old show pony, isn’t he? Basically, I was like a magpie, looking at everything from Vincent Price in “Theater of Blood” — well, Vincent Price in lots of things, actually — to my cat. I would watch how my cat plays with mice, and I was like: You know what? I’m going to steal a bit of that.

Had you ever wanted to play a vampire?

Yes, absolutely. I love horror. It’s what I live for. I grew up watching Christopher Lee as Dracula, and William Marshall as Prince Mamuwalde in “Blacula.” Very debonair, theatrical, that rich voice. I’ve watched those vampires as long as I can remember.

I’ve always adored horror. Kids that are outsiders often do. Growing up as a queer kid, those villains, like the vampires, are often how people treat gay people. It’s always there, that queer coding. In those old James Whale movies, it’s there. It’s written into them.

More than any other writer, Anne Rice identified the tragedy within the monstrousness of the vampire. They are immortal, but the people they love can still die, and that experience stays with them literally forever.



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