Universal Pictures is planning to kickoff a rebooted version of its classic monster universe with The Mummy in 2016. However, well before that happens, the feature Dracula Untold – starring Luke Evans (who reprises as Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies this December) and helmed by first-time feature director Gary Shore – will be opening in theaters. (This fall, as it were.)
The Dracula movie, as illustrated by both the international trailer (see above) and the domestic theatrical preview, is a cinematic re-envisioning of the eponymous vampire’s origins – one that makes him out to be something closer to a dark superhero, complete with a tragic backstory (even before his transformation). Dracula Untold‘s storyline is also heavily informed by the actual history of Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler – Dracula author Bram Stoker’s inspiration for his supernatural horror icon – according to the film’s producer, Alissa Phillips.
Dracula Untold, as scripted by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (the upcoming Gods of Egypt), picks up in the 15th century, as Vlad (Evans) finds his homeland facing the thread of invasion by the Ottoman Empire, led by Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper). Desperate to find a way to defend his people, Vlad ends up striking a Faustian bargain with an ancient evil (Charles Dance) that allows him to gain incredible powers that will help him win the war – but, eventually, at a terrible cost to his own soul.
Evans, during our interview with him on the Dracula Untold set, said that Vlad’s bloodlust in the film is, on a subtextual level, along the lines of a drug addiction, as his most vampiric qualities manifest themselves slowly over the course of the story – becoming more uncontrollable with time. The Dracula movie in general also seems to have more in common with pop historical epics such as the 300 franchise, compared to the sort of atmospheric horror commonly associated with the Dracula character.
In other words, Dracula Untold looks and sounds in keeping with Legendary Pictures’ recent slate of genre blockbusters – ones that cover familiar narrative ground, yet in inventive and stylish ways. Evans has often been a bright spot in otherwise lackluster genre films (see: Immortals, The Raven, etc.), but the Dracula re-imagining has the potential to be a more fitting blockbuster showcase for his talents – and could even lead to Evans’ Dracula joining Universal’s monster universe down the line, if all goes well.
Dracula Untold opens in U.S. theaters on October 17th, 2014.
Source: Universal [via CBM]