West London-born Nonso Anozie, 34, is one of the latest British talents making waves in Hollywood right now. He has quite a few projects coming out this year, including the much anticipated US NBC TV series, Dracula, which starts Thursday, 31st October (Halloween Night) on Sky Living, and big-budget movie Ender’s Game, which co-stars Harrison Ford and is in Cinemas across the UK now. We caught up with him recently to find out more!
Tell us about the character you play in Dracula?
I play Alexander Grayson/Dracula’s lawyer and confidante R.M Renfield, and he is the only one who knows Dracula’s secret and is the only person who can argue with him without losing his life. He’s Dracula’s voice of reason and someone who protects him and helps him not to make bad decisions. In the Bram Stoker original story of Dracula, which the NBC series is largely based on, Renfield is more of a slave or servant and a bit of a fidgety wreck of a man, who is a bit mad and eats bugs, but in the NBC version he is more slick and smooth, three steps ahead of everyone else and is equal to Dracula intellectually. He’s still a human being – he hasn’t been turned into a vampire yet, but he is a very interesting character to play.
I am having so much fun playing him, and I’m having so much fun with the cast. We spent seven months filming and it was such a great experience.
How is this one different to other roles you’ve had?
The thing that links all my roles together, especially in recent years is that it challenges me in some way. I think it would be very easy to cast me as the thug or the big bouncer, but the thing about Reinfield is that he is very intelligent. He knows a lot about the world and about law, which is his forte. He is multi-faceted, because despite all that, he understands his position and knows he belongs in servitude to Dracula and know he owes him his life, which hopefully makes him quite interesting to watch.
You’re also in Ender’s Game, which is also out now? Tell us about that?
Ender’s Game was a fantastic to film. It was a great experience to be involved in such a big-budget movie, and we filmed it in the NASA base in New Orleans.
It’s a sci-fi adventure film, where kids are the ‘saviours of the world’ and they are leading the fight against the alien society looking to annihilate mankind. It also stars Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Sir Ben Kingsley and I play Sergeant Dap, the guy whose job it is to train all the new young recruits who come into the battle school. I’m quite a hard-ass, quite a mean guy at first, but you can see the character has got a soft heart, and this shows through when he begins to see that one of the kids has something special.
How was it working with such respected and veteran actors such as Harrison Ford and Viola Davis?
I was able to speak to Harrison Ford, who gave me a lot of advice for an actor, such as myself, who is really starting to make his way through Hollywood. And Viola Davis was really down-to-earth, regal and really intelligent at the same time. She kind of holds it all together and is just a really lovely person. I would really love to get to work with her again.
You are based largely in the L.A; do you feel like you are more recognised in the US these days?
Yes, definitely. Being in Game of Thrones and Dracula has definitely set my recognition very high in America. I had this really interesting incident in L.A one time, where this woman just stopped me dead in the street and screamed her lungs out. And in my mind I was thinking, ‘what is going on here?’ And she screamed again and then shouted: ‘You’re in Game of Thrones! We have to take a picture!’ And, in my mind, I was like, ‘Okay! You didn’t need to scream – the police might have thought I was trying to attack you!’ But it was all good.
The game has changed as I walk into lots of different places now and I’m recgonised. It’s not why I choose to make a living as an actor, but it’s nice to be appreciated.
What other projects have you got coming up?
I will be appearing in the Emmy-winning TV mini-series, The Bible, playing Samson, which will be screened on Channel 5 in December, so look out for that. It attracted 13 million viewers in the US when it was show there earlier this year, so it’s going to be major. And I am currently filming a live action version of Cinderella, which co-stars Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, and that will be out in Easter, 2014.
Dracula is on Sky Living, Thursdays at 9pm (from Thursday, 31st, October), Ender’s Game is in cinemas across the country now
You can see the trailer for The Bible miniseries, coming to Channel 5, this December below