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Sanctuary's Christopher Heyerdahl - The Beast Within
Sanctuary's Christopher Heyerdahl, Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne
It was over 120 years ago that Montague John Druitt became a suspect in Jack the Ripper's serial killing of eight prostitutes that were carried out in London between August and November 1888. A teacher at Blackheath's boy's school, he was dismissed from his place of employment shortly before committing suicide in November 1888.
Who would have thought that Druitt would resurface, albeit in fictional form, on the hit Sci-Fi TV series Sanctuary. He and his former lover, Dr. Helen Magnus, were part of a group of 19th century scientists called "The Five." Their experiments with pure vampire blood gave each of them an Abnormal power, Druitt's being the ability to teleport. His body was later taken over by a homicidal energy creature that drove him to commit the Jack the Ripper murders.
Druitt made his debut in a series of eight 15-minute Sanctuary webisodes, with veteran stage, feature film and TV actor Christopher Heyerdahl cast in the role. Because this is a character that has lived considerably longer than the ordinary human being, he wanted to try his best to get that as well as several other things across in his performance.
"Whenever you're creating a character for the first time, especially one that you think so highly of after reading the script, your number one concern is making sure you do him justice," says Heyerdahl. "So with John Druitt I started out doing a lot of research into the time period that he came from, and then through the past 150 years that he's spent on this planet and compared it to the nearly five decades that I've been here. It's a perspective that is very particular.
"There are quite a few octogenarians and even older individuals who live in the same building as I do in Vancouver. I spoke with a number of them about how peculiar life is when you've seen so much and in a world that has changed so dramatically, certainly in the last 80 or 90 years. You then try to bring all that into the relationship between Druitt and Magnus [Amanda Tapping], which has experienced an awful lot, too. He knows that she brought their child Ashley [Emilie Ullerup] to term, and in the webisodes he's been searching and searching for her for pretty much 120 years..."