Video Interviews

The Last Voyage of the Demeter Cast on Their Characters and Battling Dracula

Director André Øvredal and stars Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian chat about their fresh new take on a familiar story.

by | August 10, 2023 | Comments


Director André Øvredal and cast members Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian join RT’s Jacqueline Coley to discuss their upcoming film The Last Voyage of the Demeter. The cast members detail the importance of telling their characters’ stories, Øvredal talks about his vision for the film, and they all spill what it was like working with Dracula.

Unlike previous depictions of the iconic vampire, The Last Voyage of the Demeter adapts just a single chapter from Bram Stoker’s original novel, one that charts the fate of the crew aboard a ship carrying Dracula’s body across the ocean from Carpathia to London. It’s a fresh take on a familiar story, helmed by a director who’s no stranger to horror; André Øvredal previously brought us films like Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, all of which are Certified Fresh.

Jacqueline Coley for Rotten Tomatoes: André Øvredal has described this movie as “Alien on a boat.” Was that sort of the appeal of it, the horror in general, or was it what you saw in the character?

Corey Hawkins: Oh, it was a little bit of both, to be honest, and a lot of André’s vision. First of all, when I read the script — and I know it’s been around for a long time — I saw this incredible character in Clemons, an opportunity that I thought was important for us to just go after. You know, you don’t have to hit the nail over the head with it, but he’s a black man, a black, Cambridge-educated doctor at the turn of the century. And I think that was important, because these men existed. And so part of it was also the research and conversations with André and our producers who also wanted to make space for that. And I thought that was great and important, especially in the horror genre, because we’re not always centered in that way. And it was great to watch this man who I think is an outsider, who I think represents the other, and Dracula represents the other; also the woman, the one woman on board played by Aisling [Franciosi], Anna, she represents the other. And so there’s this dynamic there that I thought was just incredible.

And then also, I’m a horror nerd. I’m a horror geek. I never pictured myself actually doing it, and this being my first sort of… leading in this way, because I’ve been a part of some really cool big franchises, but to be a part of bringing Dracula back is awesome. My first time some being introduced to a vampire was Blacula in the 1970s, William Marshall and the Blaxploitation era. I mean, I didn’t see it in the 1970s; I saw it, you know, when, I was alive. [laughs] You know, the VHS, rocked it ’til the tape popped. But it’s one of those things that for me was just incredibly special, and it’s just great opportunity.

Rotten Tomatoes: Liam, your character and your performance, it’s a little bit more because you also are narrator to this. So it’s a very intense voice acting performance. I think it’s so interesting that your character goes through those various points because he really is what brings us into the story and lets us know that trouble is afoot.

Liam Cunningham: Yes, it’s a good point you make, and your audience should know that the reason I’m narrating is because the entire movie is based on one chapter in the book, which is the Captain’s Log, and it’s very sparse in the book. It’s this log where he says, “One of our guys is missing, there’s something malevolent on this.” So we, it was in honor of the book that my narration takes place.

The character of Elliot, which we have to kind of build from the ground up, is interesting; he’s a decent man. These are merchant seamen. They’re blue collar guys who deliver packages and merchandise around the world, and they’re visited by this horrific beast who treats this ship like his refrigerator. And I think that’s what’s really interesting, these decent men. There’s not a wasted character on board on this ship. They’re all kind of good people, and I think that’s what’s important. You can have whatever monster you want, and as David has said before, and I’ve said, if you don’t have people you care about, you’re not gonna care about the film. And I think you care about these people.

Watch the video for the full interview with Øvredal, Hawkins, Cunningham, and Dastmalchian.

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