U genre label teams with helmer Anderson on vidgame adaptation

LONDON — Universal Pictures genre label Rogue has boarded Paul W.S. Anderson’s Dracula project “Castlevania,” a $50 million vidgame adaptation produced and co-financed by Crystal Sky Entertainment.

Rogue will distribute the pic in North America and is also taking rights in the U.K., Spain and German-speaking territories. Crystal Sky is handling sales for the rest of the world.

Anderson’s script spans many time periods but mostly takes place in 15th century Transylvania. It reps a fresh take on the much-filmed Dracula legend, mining back to its genesis in the story of the Romanian prince Vlad the Impaler.

“You could almost call this movie ‘Dracula Begins,'” Anderson said.

“It’s an action/horror project in the vein of ‘Underworld’ and ‘Blade,’ and hopefully it will be a big franchise for us,” Rogue co-prexy Andrew Rona said.

“Castlevania” is a long-running game franchise by Japan’s Konami. It focuses on the duel across the centuries between Dracula and the vampire-hunting Belmont family, played out within Dracula’s vast, labyrinthine castle.

“Ever since I made ‘Event Horizon,’ I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a location that’s a character in the story, of being trapped in an environment that’s out to get you,” Anderson said.

Anderson and his producing partner Jeremy Bolt are scouting locations in Hungary and Romania, with a view to shooting next spring. The castle interiors will be constructed in Budapest.

Bolt and Anderson will produce with Crystal Sky chairman Steven Paul and prexy Benedict Carver.

“This is not what you’d call a typical videogame movie, it’s a legend with a strong romantic element,” Carver said.

The vidgame is noted for its eerie, gothic visuals and music, which Anderson says will inspire the look and sound of his movie.

It will be Anderson’s third vidgame adaptation, following “Mortal Kombat” and “Resident Evil.” He and Bolt are also developing a movie version of the game “Driver” for Constantin, which Roger Avery will direct, and are in post on the third installment of the “Resident Evil” franchise.

“Castlevania” is Crystal Sky’s second collaboration with Rogue, following Neil Marshall’s sci-fi chiller “Doomsday,” which is casting to shoot early next year.

Senior VP of production Adrienne Biddle will supervise the project for Rogue.

A deal reported at last year’s AFM for Dimension Films to take North American rights to “Castlevania” never materialized, after Dimension cooled on Anderson’s script.

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