Paramount is developing a Dracula prequel and they want IT director Andres Muschietti to be the man behind the camera. Budding horror maven Muschietti is already committed to directing an IT sequel that will revisit the first film’s adolescent Loser’s Club as adults, while also exploring the story’s cosmic dimension “The Deadlights.”
Paramount’s planned Dracula project will be based on Dracul, the first Dracula prequel officially authorized by Bram Stoker’s estate. Co-written by Bram Stoker descendant Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker, Dracul follows a 21-year-old Bram Stoker as he first encounters the demonic being that will go on to inspire the central character of his iconic 1897 novel. Stoker traps the demon in an ancient tower, but like a true author, takes time out from monster-fighting to write down his adventures.
Paramount has acquired the rights to Dracul ahead of its publication and IT director Andres Muschietti is loosely attached to direct, with Barbara Muschietti and Roy Lee producing (per Deadline). The red-hot Muschietti is also lining up a planned live-action adaptation of the anime series Robotech at Sony. The director has also been mentioned as a candidate to helm Justice League Dark at Warner Bros, while Muschietti himself has expressed his desire to mount new screen versions of other famous Stephen King novels, after he finishes IT Part 2. Muschietti is also calling the shots on Hulu’s Locke & Key TV series pilot (itself, based on the comic book of the same name written by King’s son Joe Hill).
The history of Dracula on film goes all the way back to 1922’s silent classic Nosferatu (so named to get around a lawsuit by Bram Stoker’s family), directed by the great F.W. Murnau. Bela Lugosi first played the character in Universal’s 1931 Dracula directed by Tod Browning, and would (to his chagrin) become the one actor most identified with the role. Britain’s Hammer House would produce their own slate of Dracula films starring Christopher Lee throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Among the notable B-movie takes on Dracula throughout the years was 1974’s Blood for Dracula (alternately titled Andy Warhol’s Dracula) directed by great underground filmmaker Paul Morrissey and starring the immortal Udo Kier as the title bloodsucker.
Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola would revisit the Dracula myth, bringing things back to Stoker’s original novel, for his 1992 Gothic horror-romance Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Gary Oldman as the timeless vampire. The character of Dracula showed up to battle Hugh Jackman’s vampire killer in the 2004 movie Van Helsing, and would get his own Universal revival in the 2014 film Dracula Untold with Luke Evans.
Future plans for Dracula’s inclusion in Universal’s Dark Universe have not yet been disclosed (and who knows if the Dark Universe even has much of a future after The Mummy failed to drum up much business at the box office). In the meantime, it appears Paramount is planning to stake its own claim to the Dracula character via their acquisition of Dracul. They arguably could not have picked a better director to tackle the project than Andres Muschietti, who is establishing himself as a new master of cinematic horror. Muschietti’s IT is currently projected to be a monster hit when it arrives in theaters.
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