With news that Russell Crowe is in early talks for the Dracula re-imagining Harker still hot off the press, we have an update on another reworking of Bram Stoker's iconic vampire tale. The title in question is Dracula Year Zero, a project that reportedly ties together aspects of the traditional Dracula mythology with historical elements from the actual life of Prince Vlad the Impaler - in order to produce a more sympathetic portrayal of the semi-immortal bloodsucker.
Alex Proyas was originally onboard to direct Year Zero, but left the project after its was temporarily "killed," due to budget issues. As bad luck would have it, the same exact fate has now befallen the film Proyas moved onto after Year Zero collapsed (the Paradise Lost adaptation).
Deadline reports that Universal is now negotiating with relative newcomer Gary Shore to helm Year Zero. Shore, as it were, earned a fair amount of attention a couple years back with his trailer/demo reel for the fantastical Samurai epic The Cup of Tears (check it out HERE) - which combines the "digital painting" look of 300 with the visual palette of an Asian martial arts epic from the likes of Zhang Yimou (Hero).
Shore's short work was (unsurprisingly) impressive enough to attract the interest of studio heads. Hence, it now looks like he'll be calling the shots on Year Zero, working from a script penned by lesser-known screenwriter Matt Sazama and Burke Sharpless - the latter has also been involved with the new Flash Gordon and Clue movies - while Michael De Luca (Priest, Fright Night) serves as a producer.
Sam Worthington was up to portray the eponymous "prince of darkness" in Year Zero, back when Proyas was directing. For the time being, there's been no word about him rejoining the cinematic venture - though, there's no confirmation that the England-born actor won't be brought back into the fold either.
However, seeing how the Avatar alumnus has yet to prove himself as being a bankable lead when he's not starring in a franchise title that already sells itself (see: the box office returns for The Debt, Texas Killing Fields, Man on a Ledge, etc.), there's no guarantee that Universal will even try to bring Worthington back. But, we digress...
Although there was never a whole lot of excitement over Worthington's casting in Dracula Year Zero, the news that Proyas (The Crow, Dark City, I, Robot) would be lending his vision to the new film incarnation of the Gothic horror monster icon prompted a whole lot of excitement among movie fans.
Jump ahead to the present and Year Zero is now being overseen by more affordable, but relatively untested talent that makes the final film outcome a bit less assured. After all, Shore demonstrated that he can deliver captivating visuals with The Cup of Tears, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be able to produce a captivating new cinematic rendition of a centuries-old monster story that basically everyone is familiar with.
All the same, best of luck to him and rest of the Year Zero production team.
Universal looks to have Dracula Year Zero fully back on track, so expect to hear more about the project over the upcoming year.