Omar Epps — who plays a vampire in Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000 (opening Dec. 22) — reveals that his association with the film spiced up his love life with girlfriend and

Love and Basketball co-star, Sanaa Lathan.

"She thought the fangs were sexy," the actor tells TV Guide Online, "so I brought them home. We might get into a new thing with that."

Lathan wasn't the only one drawn to the dark side. Epps admits that he, too, found something attractive about the undead while working on Dracula, Patrick Lussier's updated version of the legend set in present-day New Orleans. "It's not like vampires are my thing, but I think they are sexy," he says. "There's the mystique of not having fear because they're dead already, and they know the unknown. It's just like when a person walks in a room, and they exude power. People sense it."

Keeping his career in balance, Epps will counter his role in the mass-appeal thriller with a double appearance at Sundance this year in Takeshi Kitano's Brother and John Rymer's Perfume. And next year, he will crossover to music with the debut album of his rap group Society X.

What's more, Epps is trying to use his production company, BKNY, to develop films of deeper social significance, like his in-the-works projects on jazz musician Miles Davis and pioneering actor Sidney Poitier. "I'm finding that there are a lot of [movies] out there that you have to get made yourself," he says, noting that the Davis project "has been sitting on the shelf, [but] I'm working feverishly to get it made."

In the meantime, the Juice star is anxious to see how moviegoers respond to his change-of-pace turn in Dracula 2000. "I never even gave the horror genre that much thought," he says. "But I looked at my career, and I thought, 'People would never expect to see me in Dracula, so let me do it.' I wanted to surprise everybody. And to be in a good film, I hope."