Universal’s attempt to revive their classic monsters continues with a new take on Dracula, but this doesn’t sound like any other Dracula movie we’ve seen before. The studio has hired Chloe Zhao, director of Nomadland and the upcoming Marvel movie Eternals, to adapt the classic tale of the bloodsucking count. Zhao’s approach will be a futuristic, sci-fi Western take on the material. Yes, really.
I’m pretty sure none of us ever expected to see a sci-fi Western Dracula, but here we are! THR broke the news, reporting that Chloe Zhao is directing a new Dracula and that it’ll be a “futuristic, sci-fi Western” that will focus on themes of “being on society’s fringes.” Regarding the news, Zhao said: “I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and the concept of the Other they embody. I’m very excited to work with Donna, Peter, and the team at Universal to reimagine such a beloved character.”
Universal Pictures president, Peter Cramer added: “Chloé’s singular lens shines a light on stories of the overlooked and misunderstood. We are thrilled to be working with her as she reimagines one of the most iconic outsider characters ever created.” Zhao will write, direct and produce the movie through her production company Highwayman.
I honestly have no idea what a futuristic sci-fi Western Dracula looks like. Does Dracula wear a cowboy hat? Does he shoot lasers? Is Renfield a robot? I guess we’ll see! Dracula, Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel about a vampire who travels from Transylvania to London, has been adapted to the screen countless times. But a sci-fi Western take on the material will certainly bring fresh blood to a tale everyone likely knows by heart by now. The closest anyone has come to making a Western Dracula is probably the 1966 oddity Billy the Kid Versus Dracula, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Zhao’s film will be different than that.
Zhao’s Dracula is the latest entry in Universal’s growing list of movies that dip into their stable of classic monsters. They tried to launch an entire cinematic universe with 2017’s The Mummy starring Tom Cruise. However, that film fizzled, and Universal pulled the plug on the shared universe idea. However, they didn’t give up entirely. The studio teamed with Blumhouse and director Leigh Whannell for The Invisible Man, a film that was a hit with both critics and audiences.
Since the release of The Invisible Man, Universal has announced a slew of upcoming monster-themed movies. There’s Invisible Woman from director Elizabeth Banks (despite the title, it’s not related to Whannell’s Invisible Man); Paul Feig’s Dark Army, which is said to feature classic Universal monsters; The Monster Mash, which we don’t really know a whole lot about; an untitled project from James Wan; a new take on The Wolfman starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Invisible Man filmmaker Leigh Whannell; and an untitled monster movie from Lord & Miller starring Channing Tatum.
On the Dracula front, the studio was also considering the Dracula spin-off Renfieldfrom director Dexter Fletcher, but it’s unclear if that will still move forward. And speaking of Dracula, last year word broke that Destroyer filmmaker Karyn Kusama was going to direct a Dracula movie for Blumhouse. That project was not officially at Universal, though, and I’ve confirmed through a source close to the project that Kusama’s Dracula is still happening. You might think that’s one too many Draculas, but I personally would love to have both a Chloe Zhao Dracula and a Karyn Kusama Dracula, because they’re both such fantastic filmmakers who will no doubt bring something new to their respective films.
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