Eli Roth (Hostel) is set to direct Harker, a retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The film is a new interpretation of the classic vampire tale, which will see Russell Crowe play the legendary blood sucking Count.
Lee Shipman & Brian McGreevy penned the script for the film, which sees Dracula tracked by a Scotland Yard detective named Jonathan Harker. The plan is to kick-start a new franchise, although the role of Harker is currently uncast.
The plot for Harker is a radical departure from Stoker’s original novel (which sees Harker employed as a solicitor/lawyer enthralled by Dracula), and Crowe doesn’t have the stereotypical physical appearance which is associated with Dracula. Here’s a description of the character from the book:
“His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth. These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.”
Director Jaume Collet-Serra was attached to Harker when it was first announced in 2011, but he left the project to work on the aborted Akira; he is now busy helming the Liam Neeson starrer Non-Stop. Warner Bros. wants Harker fast-tracked, which is why Roth is now in negotiations to direct. On paper the combination of Russell Crowe and Eli Roth looks like an odd one, but it should be noted that Crowe’s next film, Kung Fu epic The Man With the Iron Fists, was co-written and produced by Roth.
Harker is yet another change of pace for the Gladiator star, who appears to be tackling an eclectic mix of projects in recent times. He has the aforementioned Iron Fists ready for release, a big screen adaptation of the stage musical Les Miserables wrapped, is currently shooting Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical tale Noah and he has the Superman reboot Man of Steel on the way next summer.
Harker will be a difficult movie to get right. Recent films which have tinkered with classic source material have left audiences cold. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing and even this summer’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter have all met with muted critical response and an underwhelming box office.
Roth’s involvement in Harker means that it’s probably safe to assume that a fair amount of blood will be spilled. As for Crowe, his interpretation of Dracula is sure to be ferocious – and that just might make this special. As you can see from the above picture of Dark Knight Rises star Gary Oldman playing the Count, even the most famous face can vanish into Dracula's monstrous visage.
Keep reading Screen Rant for more details on Harker.