The U.S. trailer for Dracula Untold leaked online earlier this week, but has now been officially released by Universal Pictures. Director Gary Shore's re-imagining of the titular horror icon's origins stars Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6) as Vlad Tepes, a man who strikes a deal a deal with dark forces in order to protect his family and battle the sultan Mehmed (Dominic Cooper) hell-bent on conquering everything in his path - and yes, that's Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones) in the trailer, as the vampire who gives Vlad his nifty, but dangerous supernatural powers.
NBC's recent Dracula TV series starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers (which got canned after one season) re-envisions Bram Stoker's blood-sucker as a dark superhero - making Drac an especially powerful piece in a larger chess game to gain political power. Dracula Untold, by comparison, appears to be interested in deconstructing Vlad from a moralistic perspective - with the end goal being to paint Vlad's descent into darkness as being a Shakespearean tragedy, more than anything.
"You are alive because of what I did to save you!" says Vlad in the trailer, suggesting that Dracula Untold will indeed paint Vlad's story in deeper strokes of grey, instead of black and white. It'll be interesting to see how screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (making their feature debut here, along with Shore) re-configure other elements of the traditional Dracula mythos - such as the overt sexual subtext - so as to better distinguish their take on the concept of vampirism and the idea of Dracula as a different sort of "Bat-man."
On that note, have a look at the new poster for Dracula Untold, included below (click the image to enlarge):
The "sexy vampire" craze has prompted something of a reaction in the storyteller community, with examples including Guillermo del Toro's "vampires=disease" approach on the upcoming TV series The Strain, as well as Dracula Untold's portrayal of vampirism as being a different sort of "curse." In addition, the Dracula origins movie is part of a recent movement to give iconic villains more depth, so as to reflect current attitudes about the concept of "evil" (see: Maleficent, for example) - a movement that has produced mixed results, thus far.
Stylistically, Dracula Untold also seems to resemble a recent classic story re-telling, in the form of Snow White and the Huntsman - combining dark fantasy imagery with a more grounded historical setting and context. Judging by the trailer footage, Dracula Untold looks like it could be more cohesive and have more substance than the aforementioned Snow White re-imagining - but, with a first-time director at the helm, it's difficult to make that claim with much certainty.
Rounding out the Dracula Untold cast are such folk as Sarah Gadon (Belle), Samantha Barks (Les Misérables), Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire), Zach McGowan (Black Sails), and Art Parkinson (Rickon Stark on Game of Thrones).
Dracula Untold opens in U.S. theaters on October 17th, 2014.
Source: Universal Pictures