When one of Dracula‘s old, undead pals shows up in this week’s episode of the NBC drama (Friday, 10/9c), Lady Jayne Wetherby wastes no time picking up the visiting vampire’s trail.
Will the huntress’ efforts lead her to discover the true, sunlight-shunning nature of her lover, Alexander Grayson? And why does the independent Lady Wetherby keep coming back to Grayson when he doesn’t always treat her so well?
TVLine talked all of this — as well as injury-inducing sex scenes, belief-suspending bathtubs and the elusive Lord Wetherby — with series star Victoria Smurfit. Read on for the bloodsucking good time.
TVLINE | For Dracula being a period drama, you have two women – Lady Jayne and Mina – who are subverting gender norms of the time in very interesting ways. Was that something that attracted you to this project?
When I heard it was a costume drama, I thought, “That’s fantastic.” But they took it a stage further and made it much more palatable to modern audiences, because we’re not trying to do Downton here, even though it’s made by the Downton people. We’re not sticking to the details of the [myth] by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve got Veronica Lake hair, I’m swathed in silks and peacock feathers, and we’re making entertainment… As Lady Jayne, I get to be the glamor society queen who expects what she expects when she expects it, thank you very much. But she’s got this other world that exists, that nobody else really knows about, because she works with the Order of the Dragon and, by the way, kills vampires.
TVLINE | What do you think draws Lady Jayne to Alexander ?
The minute Lady Jayne sees this extremely glamorous, handsome entrepreneur, this man who exudes power, money and danger, that is exactly what’s been missing in her life… For eight years, she’s been training other huntsmen for the eventual onslaught of vampires coming back, and they haven’t, and she’s bored. There’s nothing she can’t do, she keeps herself fit – she’s got this dojo with a vampire track down at the bottom of her house where she keeps herself limber — and she’s bored. So the minute this electric man arrives, she’s captivated and she wants him.
TVLINE | It should be noted that your character is one of the only people who gets to have sex in this show.
Thank god! [Laughs] Well I quite like that. To me, she’s the flipside of Dracula, because she’s just as aggressive, brutal and dark as him, and she’s also a terribly physical human being. I mean you can’t kill vampires for a living and not need a release.
TVLINE | She’s the consummate vampire hunter — and yet when she comes face-to-face with the ultimate vampire, she’s doesn’t realize it.
We all have that one completely dodgy bad guy, that you know the minute you meet him that he’s going to steal 10 bucks from your bedside table after he leaves, he’s not going to say thank you, he’s going to leave the door open and he might take your car. [Still,] if he calls for the next booty call, you’d say yes. In my head, [Grayson] was that guy for her.. Her extraordinary flaw is the fact that she thinks that she cannot be beaten, and he does just that, simply by conning her every time.
TVLINE | Are we ever going to see Lord Weatherby? We hear about him being on his sickbed, but I’m not convinced he actually exists.
[Laughs] You won’t see him in this [season], no.
TVLINE | Jonathan Rhys Meyers told us about the sexy, violent scene in tonight’s episode. He ripped your clothes during shooting, and then you cold-cocked him?
I whacked him a good one. [Laughs] …I mean, the amount of shirts I went through — we were decimated by the end of it. It was quite hilarious, but it’s pretty brutal. I have to tell you, I had bruises everywhere… The great thing is, as actors you can trust each other. You’re going to go as far you can go without actually damaging each other. But I did give him a good old belt around the shelf. I can’t be too delicate!
TVLINE | Later on, Lady Jayne snuggles up on him in the bathtub. Does she not notice there’s no heartbeat under her hand?
That’s a very good point. Sometimes, you have to let some stuff slide… Let’s just say that she’s far too busy looking at his lovely chest.
TVLINE | That part of your job may not suck.
When you show up to work and your outfit for the day is a flesh-colored thong, there are moments when you go, “What am I doing?”…But you’re right, to be in a bath with Johnny, it’s not a bad day at the office.