Rufus Sewell On the “Teen Spangly Vampires” of Twilight and Dressing As a Beefeater, 20 June 2012
By Kiran Moodley

Rufus Sewell is often typecast as a villain: 'A Knight's Tale', 'The Legend of Zorro', 'Helen of Troy'. But he couldn't resist the bizarre role of vampire leader taking the Confederate forces into battle against the 16th President of the United States in 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'.

"It's good to have a job - I've been unemployed for eight months!" laughs the 44 year-old Sewell, speaking from the Ritz-Carlton in New York. Last seen on the small screen playing elegant Lebole-clad detective Aurelio in 'Zen' last year, this month sees him return in a Tim Burton produced adaptation of Seth Grahame Smith's inspired novel. "Ben Walker who plays Abraham Lincoln is very funny, very professional and showed a lot of humility - he's good with an axe too." As the stylish Sewell makes a welcome return to film, quizzed him about his bloodsucking return: 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' is definitely unusual. Does historical fiction and fantasy appeal to you?

Rufus Sewell: I haven't read that great a deal of the genre at all - I haven't got a great library of historical mashups! Yet when I heard the title, it made me smile and once I read the book I thought it wasgreat. It was just a crazy, visual spectacular of a book and it was good to get the script and see just how crazy it was going to be.

Vampires remain a favourite pop culture topic at the moment - is this film offering a different take?

I don't know if it will benefit from the recent spate of vampire films. I'm hoping it's a refreshing antidote in that it's a good old-fashioned, blood-curdling vampire film. To take it to a further extreme, it's getting away from the teen spangly vampires of the last few years. So I don't think it's tapping into that genre rather than it's going against that.

You've previously said you wouldn't want to play a villain again - what was it about this role?

That's basically because I've been asked that question since 1999! Personally, I haven't got a problem with playing any kind of role, but the pattern is, if the film is American and it's big, I get the baddy. I like having to find a refreshing angle to something that is similar to what I've played before. The greatest string in bow is versatility. I was delighted to play a baddy after being unemployed.

What's the worst thing a critic has ever said about you?

I read a review once said: "Rufus Sewell" and then in brackets "(bad)". It was the brackets that really pissed me off.

What do people get wrong about you?

It depends whether you mean people or journalists. People don't get much wrong about me, but journalists do. People write about me like I'm a "type".

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Whatever your excuses, just turn up on time. 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' is out in cinemas now.

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