Perhaps one of Bram Stoker’s most enduring creations from his seminal Gothic horror novel of the late nineteenth century came in the singular character of Professor Abraham Van Helsing, the now infamous vampire hunter who took it upon himself to seek out and destroy the evil Count Dracula and his suckling brood. Since the time of the original novel’s publication, the character of Van Helsing has been portrayed by countless leading men, most notably including Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins in Bram Stoker’s Dracula from 1992 and Hugh Jackman in the critically disregarded eponymous Van Helsing film in 2004.
Of late, a feature film reboot of the property is currently underway on the behalf of building a shared Universal Pictures Monster Movie Universe, though an entirely novel Van Helsing television series is also in development – surrounding the undertakings of the late physician’s daughter, Vanessa Helsing, who is the next heir apparent to lead a great lineage of warriors to battle against a world taken over by the undead. And according to the latest casting report, the Syfy network has just found their leading lady.
According to Deadline, Kelly Overton (True Blood) has just been cast in the lead role of what will be a thirteen-episode series on Syfy later this Fall, with production set to begin in Vancouver, B.C. later this month. Also cast in the new vampire series from Nomadic Pictures (Fargo) and showrunner Neil LaBute (The Wicker Man) are Jonathan Scarfe (Hell on Wheels) as a career Marine named Axel, Christopher Heyerdahl (Hell on Wheels) as a steadfast survivor of the vampire Rising named Sam, Paul Johansson (Mad Men) as the nefarious vampire leader Dimitri, David Cubitt (Ray Donovan) as an embittered and prejudiced survivor, and Tim Guinee (Homeland) as the tragic vampire warrior named Flesh.
Syfy’s Van Helsing series will undoubtedly diverge drastically from any past iterations of the property and world than anything seen before – though if LaBute is to be believed, viewers may be greeted with a TV show that will be far more character-driven then might be expected from its outstanding premise. When asked to comment on the members of the cast, LaBute was positive about the talent involved, remarking, “We’ve been extremely blessed to get such a wonderfully talented and diverse cast for Van Helsing,” with co-chairman of Nomadic Pictures, Chad Oakes, echoing that enthusiasm in regards to assembling the cast with the rejoinder, “Kelly will be an amazing Vanessa and our lead cast is nothing short of outstanding.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the SyFy network will be able to deliver on all of the promise that LaBute has built up for the Van Helsing series, though the new TV show certainly has enough seasoned talent behind it to make it a compelling bit of genre entertainment to watch (at the very least). For now, viewers can look forward to another piece of distracting genre fiction from the Syfy network – and the return of the vampire-inhabited world inspired by Stoker’s great work.
Van Helsing will premiere on Syfy sometime this Fall.