CULTURE

Christopher Lee forgets Dracula, still wants to play Ivan the Terrible

There is one question that Christopher Lee finds disagreeable, yet one which he is called on to answer most of the time: Does he identify with Dracula, the character he is so famous for interpreting? In town as a guest of honor at Eleftherotipia’s European Cinema Panorama, the actor answered this and other questions at a recent press conference. During my career I made 250 films and 15 of them were about Dracula. The first one was in 1958, 43 years ago, and the last one in 1972, nearly 30 years ago. I don’t talk about this character any more, said Lee. Indeed, I was identified with the character for a while, but that changed later on, when I worked with Billy Wilder, John Landis, Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton, among others. Dracula is part of archaeology nowadays and in Greece you know about these things. I don’t get people coming up to me to say ‘Boo, Dracula!’ They simply shake my hand and ask for an autograph. There are two historical figures that Lee would like to interpret, Ivan the Terrible and Don Quixote. I believe that I understand the Don Quixote character, but I don’t think that I could interpret the role any more, after all I’m going to turn 80 years old in six months, said Lee. At the same time, in the last 18 months I worked with Tim Burton in ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ with Peter Jackson in ‘Lord of the Rings,’ and with George Lucas in ‘Star Wars: Episode II.’ Perhaps one is never too old to do certain things. The actor also offered his opinion on the current situation as well as his own experience with Islam. I spent 10 weeks in Pakistan shooting what I believe was my most important movie; I interpreted the country’s founder. I know what Islam means. It is not a religion based on terror and violence, but of submission to God’s will. People must realize that the Taleban regime does not represent the average Muslim. Lee also referred to his love for the Greek language. I started learning Ancient Greek at the age of 12, and I never forgot it. Though I don’t understand Modern Greek, if I look at a newspaper I’ll be able to read about 50 percent of it. As for the indispensable question on the return of the Parthenon Marbles, Lee was realistic. This is a matter for governments and whatever I say is of absolutely no importance, he said. Topping the events is a two-day symposium (November 15 and 16) on digital film, highlighting its influences on modern-day film production and on the changing aesthetic of film.