Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dracula, Addiction and how I live with it

wpid-jonathan_rhys_meyers_cabourg_2013BITS O’ SCRIBBLES

A few week in Dracula is showing some shape and character but the ratings aren’t those of the premiere, it seems. I have delayed judgment on this NBC pet project because of a personal insane attachment to Rhys Meyers, who I’ve admired for a while, both professionally and well, of course, those lips.

When I was little I didn’t know about his addiction problems, I started loving movies before I knew the real world so just now I’m equipped with life tools to not only understand but recognize the signs.

Well before reading this news it seemed clear to me that the Dracula I was seeing did not have a clean man behind. And I say this respectfully, I also say that much like many other artists the on screen performance is grand, felt, more visceral. I couldn’t say with 100% certainty that he was on something, nor can I say a “clean” performance wouldn’t have been better. But I know myself, I know I share a struggle with these unattainable stars and I know I’m both worse and better off when I rely on substances rather than will.

The music business is riddled with examples, more often than not great albums come from the pains and struggles of abuse, LSD trips or a hangover.

It’s a sadly funny thing, and as much as these VIP people with issues may not like the exposure, it helps many more who watch and listen.

So this is just it, an outing of appreciation for Jonathan, me and the way the network handled the matter.  

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Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ Dracula Salary Delayed by NBC Amid Addiction Concerns:

The troubled star, who’s been in and out of rehab, was made to wait for a substantial part of his $100,000-per-episode pay until after production ended.

Dracula star Jonathan Rhys Meyers is one of the industry’s more troubled talents. So NBC created a financial incentive for the actor to complete filming all 10 episodes of the series this summer in Budapest.

According to sources, the network withheld a substantial part of Rhys Meyers’ compensation — estimated at $100,000 an episode — until filming was finished. Rhys Meyers, 36, whose struggles with substance abuse plagued his previous series, Showtime’s The Tudors, required increased scrutiny before NBC would sign off on casting him in Dracula. So the Irish actor received per diem payments and other small dispensations, but the lump sum of his salary was contingent on him completing the season.

This was not the first time the payment ploy had been used: NBC did it, for example, with Alec Baldwin deep into 30 Rock’s seven-season run — not because of the substance issues that have followed Rhys Meyers but because Baldwin had been making noises about leaving the show.

Dracula posted a solid premiere when it launched in the 10 p.m. hour of NBC’s Friday block Oct. 25, averaging a 1.8 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demographic and 5.3 million total viewers. The Nov. 8 outing saw a steep dip, losing nearly a full ratings point, but initial DVR returns are promising as three days’ worth of time-shifting saw the pilot improve 56 percent to a 2.8 rating.

The series is said to be a passion project for NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, who courted Rhys Meyers for the role of America’s first vampire. In Greenblatt’s previous position as president of entertainment at Showtime, he oversaw Tudors, which starred Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII. (The actor’s performance brought him two Golden Globe nominations.)

Obviously, Greenblatt is abundantly familiar with the actor’s personal issues, which include several stints in rehab and alcohol-related detainments at airports in Dublin, Paris and New York. According to sources, the star’s problems recurred while filming Dracula when, following a meltdown, he returned to London and quietly was hospitalized for a short time. Nonetheless, all 10 episodes of the Cole Haddon-created series have been delivered. Sources say Rhys Meyers, who required a sober companion to accompany him on set, returned to rehab as soon as filming was completed.

NBC declined comment on the situation. A source close to Rhys Meyers observes that the show is doing well, adding, “Jonathan’s in a really good place, and he’s healthy.”

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