PARIS – Nick Wechsler and Scanbox’s Joni Sighvatsson have joined forces to produce “Dracula Now,” a contemporary Gothic drama series adapted from an edgier, more political reworking of Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel.
“Dracula Now” is based on “Powers of Darkness” (“Makt Myrkranna”), a reworking of Stoker’s “Dracula” by Icelandic writer Valdimar Ásmundsson in 1900, just a few years after the original novel appeared. “Powers of Darkness” has just been translated into English by Hans de Roos, in an annotated edition featuring a preface by Dacre Stoker (the great-grand nephew of Bram Stoker) and an afterword by vampire and horror scholar John E. Browning.
The 10-episode TV series will transpose the action to present times and emphasize the political dimension of the novel. In the series, Dracula will be a seductive, manipulative megalomaniac from Transylvania on a ruthless quest to conquer Europe.
Dracula Now’ will be an allegory of what’s happening today in the U.S., in the U.K. and in France,” said Sighvatsson, who is based in Los Angeles and heads up Scanbox with Thor Sigurjonsson and Chris Briggs. “It won’t be like a ‘Dracula’ spinoff because there’s no need for that. ‘Dracula Now’ will explore the idea of Dracula as a dictator forging a reign of blood to control people in today’s world.”
Icelandic screenwriter Otto Geir Borg, who previously penned the 2010 film “Undercurrent” (“Brim”), which earned six Edda awards (Iceland’s equivalent to the Oscars), is writing the English-language series.
Wechsler and Sighvatsson are aiming to produce the series with an estimated budget of $3 million per episode, and will likely partner with a pan-European group.
The show will be one of the first drama series developed by Scanbox, a leading film distributor in Scandinavia which recently released “Lion,” “Jackie,” “I, Daniel Blake,” “Hell or High Water” and “Paterson.”
Scanbox has several drama projects in the pipeline, notably “Last Rituals,” an Icelandic thriller series based on Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s books.
A seasoned American producer, Wechsler has produced dozens of films, including “Cartel,” “Magic Mike,” “The Player” and “Under the Skin.”