Over six months ago it was announced that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (The Tudors, Mission: Impossible III) was set to lead Dracula, a 10-episode series set up at NBC that would put a new spin on the classic Bram Stoker tale.
Now two more cast members have joined the series, including the iconic vampire’s arch nemeses. Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong, Wanted) has been cast as the vampire hunter Van Helsing and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Raven, Going the Distance) has been cast as Jonathan Harker.
This is a project that skipped the pilot stage and just got a straight-up series order, but it’s hard to tell whether it’s looking past a single season or will act more as an extended miniseries. The shorter season seems to behoove both the networks and creators as they get a chance to tell their story without the pressure of waiting for a longer, full season order and filling more time. It also helps with audiences’ shorter attention spans.
The new spin on Dracula sees the vampire in 1890s London, posing as an American entrepreneur named Alan Grayson, seemingly trying to bring modern science and technology to the Victorian society. However, his real plan is revenge against those who destroyed his life centuries ago. But that gets sidetracked as he falls in love with a woman named Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw), who might be the reincarnation of his dead wife.
As for Dracula’s antagonists, Deadline describes this iteration of Van Helsing as “a brilliant professor with a seemingly cool exterior whose obsession with revenge and power may make him a more dangerous threat to the public than Dracula himself.” Meanwhile, Harker (played by Jackson-Cohnen above) is “a tenacious and slightly gauche journalist desperate to climb the ranks of aristocracy.”
Krestchmann is a great character actor who deserves a lot more play, so if this series is successful, it be nice to see him start showing up more often on TV and film. Jackson-Cohen has enjoyed more experience overseas than in the United States, but he’s an up and comer. Teaming with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers for this series should turn out well for all of them.
Dracula is being produced 24 producer Tony Krantz, Collin Callender (a former president of HBO Films), Anne Mensah, Reece Pearson and Downton Abbey producer Gareth Neame. Creator Cole Haddon will serve as writer and co-executive producer, but he’s a newcomer so we’re not sure what to expect. Hopefully these guys have something new to offer the vampire-crazy pop culture crowd, otherwise NBC will have missed the boat.
Dracula does not yet have a premiere date – so stay tuned.