Vlad the Impaler’s a popular sucker right now.
Studios are sinking their teeth into several projects revolving around the Romanian prince that inspired Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”
Last week, Universal tapped “I, Robot” helmer Alex Proyas to direct “Dracula Year Zero,” a look back to Vlad’s beginnings. It will vie with Sony’s adaptation of “The Historian,” a tale about a woman’s search for Vlad’s grave, and “Castlevania,” an adaption of the popular vidgame that Sylvain White is directing for Rogue.
U’s filmmakers are sanguine about the competish, noting that many Dracula movies have come before and many will follow. “There’s room for as many Dracula movies as people can make,” says co-scribe Burk Sharpless. “I’m not worried about the compeititon.”
Besides, co-writer Matt Sazama says, their movie shows a different side of Vlad, when he was at the height of his powers.
Proyas, a self-proclaimed “genre geek,” similarly maintains that “Year Zero” serves up a fresh take on the legend. “The character has been resonating for so long because there’s a horror and fascination with him,” Proyas says. “This script shows sympathy for that character — and that duality is what attracts people.”
He retains a special fondness for Tod Browning’s 1931 version of “Dracula” and “Nosferatu,” which had similar elements.
Meanwhile, Vlad’s fictional progeny — which, over the years have inspired such disparate pics as “Love at First Bite” and “Blacula” — continue to suck up B.O. coin and ratings. Even Lifetime has a vampire skein due for a return season.
Hollywood’s not the only one out for blood: Transylvania has been trying to get a Dracula Park off the grounds for years. And earlier this month an heir to the Romanian royal family recently put Vlad’s castle up for sale, hoping to snag a buyer willing to bite down on a hefty pricetag.