Jennifer Esposito literally jumped at the chance to do her own stunts in Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000. But the actress — who plays a gravity-defying vampire in the thriller — may have gotten more than she bargained for.

"I get to throw people through windows, I get to fly... when am I going to do that in real life?" says Esposito, perhaps best known as Michael J. Fox's former assistant on Spin City. "I told the director [Patrick Lussier] in my audition, 'I was a gymnast for eight years,' because I knew there would be a lot of stunts, and I love them.

"Then it became a running joke that every time a stunt came up, I would repeat, 'I was a gymnast for eight years!' And Patrick would say, 'Oh, really?'"

While Esposito relished the physical challenges required of the role, the self-professed claustrophobic found other aspects of the shoot vexing. "I had to get a cast made of my head for special effects, and they put plaster of paris all over my head with only holes for my nose," she sighs. "You can't hear, you can't see. It was the worst thing ever. Then they put me in a body bag, and zipped it closed. But I had to take a deep breath and just do it."

Having survived Dracula, Esposito will next appear in Jon Favreau's Made and the Steven Soderbergh comedy Welcome to Collinwood, starring Isaiah Washington and Vincent D'Onofrio. Currently, she's in New York filming Don't Say a Word with Michael Douglas.

"I'm a detective chasing Michael through the entire city," she explains. "We just filmed a scene in which he's in a car and I'm on the street running after him. It was six in the morning and snowing. I should keep my mouth shut about being a gymnast. We're going to be filming on a boat on the East River three nights this month. I'm going to be frozen stiff!"