The Last Voyage of the Demeter actor Javier Botet talks about how he built his career playing some of horror's most popular monsters, from Mama to The Conjuring 2 to Alien: Covenant.

Javier Botet has frightened literally millions of people by portraying monsters in movies like 2013's Mama, 2015's Crimson Peak, 2016's The Conjuring 2, 2017's Alien: Covenant, 2018's Slender Man, and the same year's Insidious: The Last Key. But it was the Spanish actor's turn to be unnerved ahead of playing the iconic role of Dracula in the Malta-shot horror film The Last Voyage of the Demeter.

"In the beginning I was a bit scared," Botet, 46, tells EW in an interview, which took place before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike. "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."

Like nearly all of Botet's on-set experiences, the shoot was still something of an endurance test. The Last Voyage of the Demeter is adapted from the seventh chapter of Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula that finds the iconic vampire killing off a ship's crew, who are unwittingly transporting the aristocratic bloodsucker from Eastern Europe to England. "The movie is really Alien-on-a-ship in 1897," says director André Øvredal, who previously cast Botet as the Corpse character in 2019's Guillermo del Toro-produced Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. "Dracula is the creature that they have to contend with."

To enhance the Alien-style vibe, Øvredal decided to depart from the human-like look and aristocratic costuming of previous big-screen Draculas for something more monstrous. "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," says the filmmaker, whose movie costars Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian. "It was always my wont to create a creature movie here, to portray Dracula in a way we haven't really seen much. 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."

Audiences will witness a dramatic change in the Dracula creature over the course of the film as he gains strength by feasting on the blood of the Demeter's crew. "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," Øvredal says. "When he regains his powers, through killing the crew one by one, he then becomes the demon. For that version of Dracula, we were going for references in animals, and especially of course in bats, to portray muscle movements and how they used their wings."