Hugh Reinbolt: Opinions and thoughts on emerging and cutting edge trends in technology, digital and social media that inspire me.


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Bloodsuckers Are Go - Vlad, Dracula: Year Zero & Sam Worthington Battle

Bloodsuckers Are Go! in 2010 ... and things seem to be revving up for the legendary Vlad Tepes (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, THE Romanian historical figure and general all-round bad guy who was of course the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula) with ongoing news of upcoming productions based on the crazy dude. First Vlad, to be created by Brad Pitt's production company Plan B and Summit Entertainment of Twilight fame -- and more recently Universal's Dracula: Year Zero.

News of the latter movie has been circulating round the Internet in recent hours due to the potential signing of main-man Sam Worthington to the title role. Get to the Future has been on a scavenge of the net and has aggregated the findings.

Dracula: Year Zero, it is to be an origin story, obviously (at least it isn't called Dracula: The Beginning, or The Rise of Dracula, or even The Revenge of Dracula ... ) and will be directed by Alex Proyas (Knowing ... I, Robot ... ok ... Dark City and The Crow - awesome -- no one seems to mention this fact). Cinematical however, states that the movie could possibly be directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine) so who knows ... The story will apparently be closer to the legend of Vlad Tepes himself, rather than the love-sick vampire made immortal by Bram Stoker's novel.

According to Empire we might expect a love story of some type with epic battles, including the inner-conflict of the anguished Dracula, and if you have seen Somersault (2004) and Macbeth (2006) alone, you may agree that Sam Worthington does pretty damn well at portraying an archetype of messed-up dudes afflicted by their desires and personal issues (not that they're all the same, they are each very different characters). The web debates his "star quality" (rah rah) since the success of AVATAR (WOOO), so if you have not seen the aforementioned movies of his, do so, please, because some online ramblings are quite unfair - see Latino Review and Obsessed With Film (they're a bit harsh). He was the highlight of Terminator Salvation (we found his sub-plot fascinating tbh - woman falls in love with cyborg and all that) and even Rogue is a wicked movie - fair enough he wasn't a major character, but he starred alongside a Giant Killer Croc! With Clash of the Titans (YES) coming up along with other less-epic and entirely original films, The Debt and Last Night, fingers are crossed that he will take the gig - he's got the right, white complexion for it at least. Fear Net gracefully points out that Sam Worthington "looks about as Eastern European as Captain America", but at the end of the day Jesus Christ wasn't white.

Alex Proyas decribed the film to Moviehole as "a medieval epic" and Shock Till You Drop reports that Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless have written the script (and have also written for the Flash Gordon remake, which Worthington may also be taking the lead role for ... we're not so keen on a remake of such a classic though ...) that Proyas described as "an interesting and original take on this character. It's all about how Vlad of Transylvania became this creature; the choices that he made to make him into this tragic character. It's so intriguing to me, to approach this as a character study on a huge, epic canvas." Cool.

Latino Review, which broke the news, reports that the movie's release is scheduled for Summer 2011,  is "budgeted at over $100M" (go team! - Universal's Wolfman apparently cost $165M) and is being produced by Michael De Luca (Ghost Rider ... and who is also working on a remake of Fright Night with Dreamworks, which has the potential to be excusable). Those are the supposed facts, and the rest of their report is essentially just slating everyone involved in the proposed movie. It's all a matter of opinion, but what nice guys.

Collider has recently posted a great interview with De Luca who suggests that the story will combine historical and fictional elements, chronicling Vlad's political endeavours as a young man, which invoves protecting his own son from his enemies - the Ottoman empire and the Turks, who Vlad eventually falls victim to, then gets spear-happy and gets down to some well needed impaling whilst serving a grand high evil Turk who is the 'antagonist' of the movie. In "a moment of desperation" Vlad climbs a mountain that is believed to be haunted to see if rumours of black magic atop of it are true and if he can use this magic to his military advantage. Of course what he finds leads to his 'transformation' into what we can only predict are the characteristics of the mythical Dracula. De Luca also states that it is to be "on the scale of Braveheart ... (with) a lot of supernatural action". Mouth watering ...

Universal are undoubtedly getting remake happy, what with Wolfman and a prequel to The Thing also in the pipeline. As JoBlo suggests, could Dracula: Year Zero be an innovative reinvigoration to the original Bad Boy, or will it metaphorically drive the stake further into the heart of the beast that is Dracula and become a dodgy movie? Fingers .... crossed.

Vlad, the second of the upcoming Dracula tales to come to a screen near us someday, has been written by actor Charlie Humman (which is pretty random considering he is an actor in his own right and gained fame in Queer as Folk ...) and to be directed by music video maker Anthony Mandler. The story will of course retrace the history of Vlad, however according to Sunday Sun, Charlie Humman "insists there will be no vampires in the project", indicating that the movie will be purely historical and not supernatural based in any way. Vlad has also been described as epic and is compared to "Braveheart and 300, centring on the story of the 15th Century leader’s resistance to the Ottoman Empire".  It seems that the script aims to portray how Vlad Tepes inspired vampirism without depicting actual vampirism or vampire qualities, such as the drinking of blood.

What is also interesting is that Humman is aspiring to have Colin Farrell or Christian Bale star in the lead role ... intriguing - they don't look particularly Eastern European either.

Croatian Times reports that Brad Pitt "has already begun location scouting at Poienari Fortress, an impenetrable castle reached only by 1,400 steps":

News surrounding Vlad is far less abundant than that of Dracula: Year One, and I wonder why! People seem to rebel against the idea of Sam Worthington playing Vlad Tepes, yet they sure love talking about it ... It's tough at the top.

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  1. Wow! What a great write up! The more I read about this project, the more excited I get. I'd be really interested in seeing Sam Worthington take a shot at this. I'd have qualms if this were just a re-telling of the classic Bram Stoker Dracula (not a role I can see him in), but the project as described, sounds like an interesting fit. I agree with you -- you have to have seen some of his Australian films to get a better idea of what he's capable of. When I heard the Dracula news, the first thing that cropped to mind was Somersault (which is funny, since it pretty much the antithesis of Dracula ) because it's such an emotionally layered performance, and when his character, Joe, lashes out, there are flashes of something dark and angry and a bit cruel in there. If Worthington takes this on, it should be interesting!

  2. Interesting movies here. Absolutely love Dracula. About Vlad, sounds interesting, and I think Bale would fit perfectly, not so much Farrell, though.