Univeral’s Dracula, formerly Dracula Year Zero, the studio’s monstrous origin story of the most famous of all vampires, has landed Luke Evans (The Raven) in the lead role. In his first starring studio role, Evans will play a young prince who makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his wife and child in this historically oriented take on the origin of the infamous vamp. Debut feature director Gary Shore, who earned his experience in the world of commercials, plans to start production on the film later this year. The film’s producer Mike De Luca previously spoke with Steve a few years ago when the studio had pulled the plug on the picture due to budget issues. Hit the jump for more on Evans’ role and to see what De Luca revealed about Dracula Year Zero.
First up, Heat Vision reports that Evans will indeed take the starring role of Dracula Year Zero. Rather than introduce us to the blood-sucking count in the middle of his murderous ways, the film will take us back to Dracula as a young mortal prince. When his family is threatened by a bloodthirsty sultan, he sacrifices his soul in order to save them and thus becomes the world’s first vampire. It’s a far more heroic and complex turn than Universal’s iconic Dracula of the 1931 picture starring Bela Lugosi.
De Luca spoke much more extensively about the plot of the picture:
I think we talked about the whole Dracula thing where you mentioned that it’s a really big movie. Could you sort of tell people like….I mean what’s a little bit more. Have things changed in the last year or two on it?
De Luca: No, these writers came up with the ingenious-what I think is ingenious-approach combining historical Dracula with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. So it chronicles the efforts of a young prince, Vlad of Transylvania trying to keep the Ottoman empire and the Turks of the time from using his small country as a stepping stone to invade Europe. So there’s a historical basis for all of that history that’s in the script, but when his back is up against the wall and he can’t figure out how to keep the Turkish army out of his country and keep their hands off his country’s children, which they want to kidnap and press into their army as something they used to call the Janissary corps, I guess the Romans did a version of it also, but this taking of male children from host countries and pressing them into military service for the invading army is another thing he’s trying to prevent. Because his own son is being threatened with that kidnapping. And in the script that we have, he was actually a victim of it himself. He earned the reputation of being the Impaler while he was serving the Turks.
One Turk in particular, which is the antagonist in the movie, so in a moment of desperation he looks at this mountain top in Transylvania that all the gypsies in his country say is haunted and full of bad black magic. And he’s never believed in any of that supernatural kind of what he thinks is hogwash. But in a moment of desperation he ascends that mountain to see if there’s any truth to any kind of power that he could use to keep the invading army out. And he finds something that gets him to where we have come to know him as Dracula and uses that power source to kind of fight the Turks after he’s changed.