FRANK LANGELLA. Dracula. June 29, 1979. Photo by Irv Glaser
  • Golden Globe Awards

Oral History: Frank Langella on Playing Count Dracula

mso-bidi-font-family:"Helvetica Neue";color:black”>Frank LangellaFrost/Nixon (2008) directed by Ron Howard from the 2006 play by Peter Morgan, CBS CEO William Paley in Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) by George Clooney, Judge Julius Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. He also played a sensual vampire in Dracula (1979) directed by John Badham from a play based on Bram Stoker’s 1931 novel, that he had performed on Broadway.

mso-bidi-font-family:"Helvetica Neue";color:black”>He said to HFPA journalists in 2020 “That experience stays in my memory because it was like being a rock star, an Elvis Presley all in black and Gothically romantic.”

mso-bidi-font-family:"Helvetica Neue";color:black”>In 1979 he said: “Dracula has a certain sexuality because he’s a mystery figure. He’s a man who comes in on a black horse and sweeps women off their feet. I have a feeling that women can fantasize about Count Dracula as being a mystery lover, not really a mortal lover, and that’s what fantasies are actually.”

mso-bidi-font-family:"Helvetica Neue";color:black”>“I wanted to show the fact that a woman might be more likely to allow a man like Dracula into her bed if he didn’t come in with great long fingernails, hollow eyes and red lines under his eyes, that one could understand the pull he might have if he weren’t a ghoul or a monster.”

mso-bidi-font-family:"Helvetica Neue";color:black”>“We’re certainly all attracted by dark forces that we don’t understand, that we can’t contemplate, and evil has to be in some form attractive to us or we wouldn’t be drawn to it so often.”

mso-bidi-font-family:"Helvetica Neue";color:black”>“Sir Laurence is a great actor, a marvelous performer to work with. What I admire most about him is that he is a rarity among actors, he’s a true original. It’s very exciting to work with a man like Laurence Olivier, who played Van Helsing, it is not in any way intimidating or frightening to me. It was something I looked forward to and it lived up to my expectations.”

mso-bidi-font-family:"Helvetica Neue";color:black”>“In the original film script there was no confrontation scene between Lord Olivier and myself and I thought that was a cardinal error to leave out a scene between the two Titans, between the forces of good and the forces of evil, so I asked for it to be put in and it was added.”