"As a fellow Irishman, there is an ease and a naturalness to your conversation," Smurfit told United Press International in a recent phone interview.
"He's got the same reference points and the same humor, which was really handy because it was sort of like shake hands, 'Nice to meet you,' [and off to work,]" the Dublin-born actress explained. "I had met him at some awards ceremonies, but I had never sat down and chatted with him. [Then we started taping the show and it was like,] 'Nice to meet you, by the way, here I am in my underpants and corset. Let's go for it.' So, it was very easy because it just meant you were able to have some fun with it and enjoy yourself because you have that common place you come from and he is so charismatic. You never quite know what he is going to do in a scene, which is gold for an actress to be in a room with him because it means you are always playing offense and defense at the same time. I loved it. I absolutely loved it."
The former "Ballykissangel" and "Cold Feet" star plays the glamorous, but lethal Lady Jayne in this reinvention of Bram Stoker's gothic novel "Dracula," while "The Tudors" hottie Meyers plays the titular vampire posing as Alexander Grayson, a wealthy American entrepreneur attempting to bring modern science to Victorian London.
Smurfit said she was initially drawn to the series as she read script scenes featuring Grayson and Lady Jayne, his lover and eventual nemesis.
"I thought: 'Oh, I just love the dynamic between these two! This is juicy. This is fabulous,'" she recalled.
"So, that actually came first and then it occurred to me, 'Oh, Alexander Grayson is Dracula, it's a reboot.' But at that point, I was already in because it had been written so beautifully. The two characters had been written so beautifully. And, from that point on, I met the executive producer Tony Krantz and he said: 'You'll have to be part stunt girl. You'll be chopping vampires' heads off,'" she said. "Between the script, Dracula, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and getting to chop vampires' heads off, what's to say 'no' to, really? It's a total dream job."
Co-starring Thomas Kretschmann, Jessica De Gouw, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Nonso Anozie and Katie McGrath, "Dracula" premieres Friday on NBC.