avier Botet, known for his chilling portrayals of monsters in films such as “Mama” (2013), “Crimson Peak” (2015), “The Conjuring 2” (2016), “Alien: Covenant” (2017), “Slender Man” (2018), and “Insidious: The Last Key” (2018), is stepping into a new role that has left him unnerved. Botet, a Spanish actor, is set to play the iconic character Dracula in the horror film “The Last Voyage of the Demeter,” shot in Malta.
In a recent interview with EW, Botet, 46, revealed his initial apprehensions about the role, saying, “In the beginning I was a bit scared. I was sure it would be wet in the boat, a lot of hours in the night. So, I thought we were going to be cold, but in Malta, in the summer, the weather was perfect to make the movie.”
Unlike his previous experiences, Botet’s participation in the shoot became an endurance test. The film, adapted from a chapter in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” follows the vampire as he preys upon a ship’s crew transporting him from Eastern Europe to England. Director André Øvredal departed from traditional depictions of Dracula, opting for a more monstrous appearance to enhance the movie’s eerie vibe.
Describing the film’s vision, Øvredal shared, “It was always about being a demon, because that’s what they call him. They call him ‘the Devil,’ and that’s a big statement… It’s not really described much in the novel, how he looks when he’s out on the boat. We just know that he has the ability to change into all kinds of shapes. So, we were free to create this demon as we pleased.”
The film portrays Dracula’s transformation as he gains strength by feasting on the crew’s blood. Øvredal explained, “One side [is] the old fragile man, who’s over 400 years old, who is now suffering from a lack of blood, and he’s become almost like an addict… When he regains his powers, through killing the crew one by one, he then becomes the demon.”
Botet underwent extensive prosthetic makeup for the role, an experience he found rewarding despite its challenges. He lauded the intricate designs created by makeup artist Jörn Seifert and emphasized that the results would astonish makeup enthusiasts.
Botet’s gentle disposition contrasts with the fearsome creatures he embodies on screen. He discussed his diagnosis of Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting limb growth, and how medical advancements have greatly improved his life expectancy. With a passion for filmmaking ignited by childhood exposure to movies like “The Empire Strikes Back,” Botet transitioned from making short films with friends to a successful acting career. His physicality and emotive prowess have made him a sought-after choice for monster roles, demonstrating his remarkable ability to convey character through movement.
Botet’s journey has led him to embrace roles that transcend his physical appearance, proving that the sweet-natured actor can indeed embody the darkest of creatures on the silver screen.