Moviegoers will be seeing a whole lot of Russell Crowe onscreen in the foreseeable future. He's expected to appear in RZA's The Man with the Iron Fists before the year is out, and will also be seen playing Inspector Javert in the Les Misérables musical adaptation, due out by December 2012. Thereafter, in 2013, he can be seen portraying the biological father of Superman in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, as well as a corrupt politician in Allen Hughes' Broken City.
Crowe also recently became loosely attached to Akiva Goldsman's Winter's Tale - not to mention, he's admitted to giving serious consideration to starring in Darren Aronofsky's Noah after he completes work on Les Miz (but not the RoboCop reboot, as was previously rumored).
However, it now looks like there's yet ANOTHER in-development project fighting for Crowe's attention: Warner Bros.' re-imagining of the Dracula story, titled Harker.
Harker is a Sherlock Holmes-style spin on Dracula, in the sense that it reworks Bram Stoker's Gothic horror tale as a mix of blockbuster action, thriller, and mystery elements, all set against the backdrop of a pre-20th century period setting. In Stoker's original novel, the eponymous Jonathan Harker was a relatively feeble lawyer; now, the character has been re-envisioned as a determined Scotland Yard detective, who's hot on the iconic vampire's trail as he commits a variety of gruesome murders across England.
Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown) became attached to helm Harker almost exactly a year ago - from the time of writing this - but the project was put on the back-burner when Serra instead became involved with Warner Bros.' live-action Akira adaptation. According to Vulture, now that studio heads have halted production on Akira until the film's budget is reduced to a more preferable level, the plan is for Serra to first move ahead with Harker. Hence, they're currently looking to sign on an A-lister like Crowe, for the title role.
How exactly Crowe is planning to avoid scheduling conflicts- seeing how Noah is expected to begin production this summer, while shooting on Harker could conceivably be getting underway around the same time - is anyone's guess right now.
Similar to Guy Ritchie's first Sherlock Holmes movie - but unlike James McTeigue's own upcoming mix of period action hero and horror genre elements, The Raven (see above) - Harker is (or was originally) being fashioned as the possible start for a new franchise, which would chronicle the further adventures of its titular detective.
It's partially for that reason that Harker sounds like it should be positioned as a potential breakout film for a promising new leading man - similar to what this summer's own mix of period action and supernatural horror elements (the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter adaptation) will be to star Benjamin Walker - rather than a movie headlined by a familiar face such as Crowe.
Then again, Harker already has up-and-coming creative talent working behind the scenes, in the forms of Serra as director and co-screenwriter Brian McGreevy, author of the buzzed-about upcoming revisionist horror novel titled "Hemlock Grove". So that may account for why Warner Bros. seemingly wants a comparatively marketable actor headlining the film.
Whether or not Crowe is the right choice in that sense - and if this project even sounds all that promising, based on the concept alone - is a matter we leave to your own discretion.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of Harker as the story develops.