If anyone was hoping for a brief moratorium on vampire-based films and television series, they'll have to hold out just a little bit longer. NBC has recently announced it will be adding to the seemingly endless list of bloodsuckers looking for screen time by bringing Dracula to the network in the form of actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
During the network's presentation at TCA 2012, NBC president Robert Greenblatt introduced the crowd to what he called "a new version of the classic Bram Stoker" legend. The project, cooked up as a co-production between NBC Universal and British Sky Broadcasting, plans to introduce a unique aspect to the familiar character that could provide for some interesting storytelling.
And in doing so, Dracula will take place in 1890s London where the vampire has assumed the identity of an American entrepreneur with aspirations of bringing modern science and technology to Victorian society. This is all a ruse, however, as Dracula's true endeavor is the pursuit of revenge against humankind after it nearly destroyed him centuries earlier. Since Dracula is a vampire, the most popular of which are really just toothy, lovelorn romantics, the only thing that may spoil his plans for vengeance is the comely young lass he's recently fallen in love with – who may also be the reincarnation of his dead wife.
The description immediately brings to mind visions of steam punk-y mechanisms and their effect on a society perhaps ill equipped to handle a rapid infusion of technology to people's lives, but how much of that will be the focus of the series remains to be seen. Moreover, the brief overview offers no mention of other characters from Stoker's novel, so it will be interesting to see if they also make the transition, or if this series will start from scratch in terms of supporting characters.
Dracula will be produced by former 24 producer Tony Krantz, Collin Callender (the former president of HBO Films), Anne Mensah, Reece Pearson and Downton Abbey producer Gareth Neame. Meanwhile, creator and relative newcomer Cole Haddon will serve as writer and co-executive producer.
Like Bryan Fuller's upcoming Hannibal, Dracula skipped the pilot stage altogether and moved directly to series. The fact that this is a co-production involving international companies likely had more to do with that than some fervent need to get the program started right away. Additionally, like Hannibal, Dracula will consist of a 10-episode season, which for a broadcast network like NBC would have been something quite rare just a few years ago, but has becoming more commonplace as of late. The shorter season recelty used with the metaphysical Jason Isaacs series Awake – though its first (and only) season ran for a total of 13 episodes, not just 10.
Perhaps the tendency toward the cable-sized seasons comes from Greenblatt's tenure at Showtime – during which, coincidentally, Rhys Meyers was appearing on the network as King Henry VIII in The Tudors. So, if Hannibal and Dracula prove successful, they may pave the way for more short seasons of multiple series, similar to what is seen on basic and premium cable networks.
As for the fanged one, Dracula has apparently become a hot property once more. Other Dracula projects in the works include Eli Roth's Harker, Neil Marshall's The Last Voyage of the Demeter and the Vlad Dracula series, which writer J. Michael Straczynski recently lined up at Starz. The Starz series would see the character taken all the way back to the 15th century, before he was a vampire.
Screen Rant will post more news and casting announcements regarding Dracula as they are made available.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter