"It was three hours of make-up, which was always a great preparation for the day. Because you're sitting there every day for three hours and you have to be quite still because some of it is quite delicate work. And you look in the mirror and it was a process of seeing 'you' as you know yourself, what you identify with individually as yourself, starting to recede away and having this other character come forward, as you became more and more obscured. So you start to look less like yourself and then you start to feel less like yourself and then you start to even think less like yourself, because you're encouraging that transformation willfully. Then you apply yourself to the story and certain impulses come.
"That's pretty much it. But to tell you the truth, I didn't feel that compelled to find out that much about him [Max Schreck] because, although any information can be useful, I was most interested in the Max Schreck of the performance, of the performance as Count Orlock. That's what I was dealing with. The other part was really the invention of Steven Katz' screenplay.
"Oh, I think he's great. You know....traditionally, silent film acting is considered hammy and unsophisticated and amateurish. But if you kind of let go your criteria for what is 'acting', which is usually based on our notions of realism and naturalism, there's some very beautiful things that happen (in Schreck's performance). In his awkwardness, there's a grace. There's a poetry to his simple actions. We aren't handing out prizes here, and it's particularly not important when the guy's been dead for so long. So whether he's a good actor or not, I don't know. But I do know that in watching him, there is some poetry."