Not too long ago, NBC premiered a new Dracula series, featuring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the title character. The TV show re-imagined Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire as being more of a dark superhero, who faces off against an evil order hell-bent on (secretly) controlling the world – and though it had camp entertainment value, it failed to attract the viewership numbers required to secure a second season. We’ll see if Universal has more luck with its cinematic re-imagining, Dracula Untold (see the first look image, above).
Dracula Untold was, once upon a time, formerly known as Dracula Year Zero, with Sam Worthington set to star and Alex Proyas (Dark City) onboard to call the shots. The basic premise is still the same despite the change in title (read: a Dracula origin story that paints the character in a more sympathetic light), but the film is now being headlined by Luke Evans – the well-respected character actor, who played second fiddle in such films as Clash of the Titans (2010) and The Raven, before he portrayed the main villain in last year’s Fast & Furious 6.
In Dracula Untold, Evans plays a version of Prince Vlad who, in an effort to protect his loved ones, makes a pact with supernatural forces – and so, unknowingly starts down the path to become the monstrous Dracula. It appears this film forgoes the political intrigue of NBC’s recent Dracula TV series; whereas that show also portrayed Meyers’ vampire as being heavily motivated by revenge and his literal bloodlust, it sounds as though Evans will be closer to a pure tragic figure – for better or worse – whose transformation into Dracula is both physical and psychological, along the lines of Bruce Wayne’s evolution into Batman.
Indeed, the first official poster for Dracula Untold (see below), has already prompted many a comparison to the artwork style and iconography of Christopher Nolan’s origin story for the Caped Crusader, Batman Begins.
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One of the reasons that Dracula Untold made our list of Risky Box Office Bets in 2014, is because there’s no guarantee that moviegoers will turn out in large numbers to see this revisionist take on the Dracula mythos – especially, if screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, along with director Gary Shore (all making their feature debuts here), prove unable to make a movie that at least shows promise, when presented in trailer form.
This past winter’s I, Frankenstein was a re-imagining of a horror literature icon as a dark superhero archetype – one which, arguably, would’ve made for a cool sandbox to play in, had it been better constructed. (A problem that was obvious throughout the film’s marketing – hence, it was mostly a dud at the box office). So far, the marketing for Dracula Untold paints the project as being a somewhat similar re-envisioning, but only time will tell if the final result turns out any better.
Dracula Untold opens in U.S. theaters on October 17th, 2014.
Source: Universal Pictures