Luke Evans is portraying the Transylvanian prince and vampire, who risks eternal damnation by attempting to save his wife and son from a Turkish mob. Samantha Barks is playing Baba Yaga, a woman from Eastern European folklore who turns into a deadly witch. Thor Kristjansson plays Bright Eyes, who was enslaved as a young boy and is now an Ottoman Empire assassin. Art Parkinson is set to portray Dracula‘s son, Ingeras. They join a cast that also includes Dominic Cooper and Sarah Gadon.
Visual effects specialist Gary Shore is making his directorial debut, working from a screenplay by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Flash Gordon). Michael De Luca is producing, with Alissa Phillips serving as executive producer. Production is scheduled to begin this August in Belgrade.
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October 25, 2013 07:58 PM PDT
Dracula, NBC’s new Friday-night offering, features a familiar story, a supernatural lead-in and a proven, easy-on-the-eyes leading man. But are you planning to sink your teeth into the period drama?
The gothic series, which bowed Friday (10/9c), introduces us to Alexander Grayson (The Tudors‘ Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a cocky American industrialist newly arrived in 1890s London. As the hour opens, members of the city’s genteel upper crust flock to Grayson’s palatial home for a gala.
What none of the lords and ladies know is that Grayson is actually Vlad Tepes, a 16th-century warrior cursed into bloodsucking immortality by the ancient Order of the Dragon. “Murder, torture, rape, wholesale slaughter. That is their stock in trade,” Grayson explains, adding that the group’s members now hold powerful positions in politics, business and society.
Tepes spent centuries moldering in a grave until being revived by Abraham Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann, The River), who has his own history with the order. (The monster inside Tepes – the one that impels him to lap blood from his victims’ necks – is the titular Dracula.)
Grayson impresses his gala guests by showing off his revolutionary “wireless power,” which harnesses geomagnetic forces to produce a cleaner form of energy. You know who doesn’t like that? The Order of the Dragon, which derives much of its wealth from its oil holdings.
As the episode progresses, Grayson goes about taking down the order in ways both calculated and rogue, such as when he rips a member’s throat out in a fit of anger. Later, he quickly dispatches one of the order’s hired henchmen, but not before the man realizes exactly whom he’s battling: “Dracula,” he gasps before dying. (For now, however, the rest of the order remains in the dark about the Drac-Grayson connection.)
Grayson’s revenge mission gets sidetracked, though, when he sees young medical student Mina Murray (Arrow‘s Jessica De Gouw) and can’t shake the feeling that she is the reincarnation of his dead wife (also killed by the order). Mina, too, feels a strange connection to the wealthy newcomer – but she’s unaware that he follows her around town, with his trusted confidante Renfield (Game of Thrones‘ Nonso Anozie) in tow. Complicating matters: Mina is engaged to a dashing young reporter, Jonathan Harker (Mr. Selfridge‘s Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
Meanwhile, Grayson engages in a physical relationship with the vampy, though not vampiric, Lady Jayne (Victoria Smurfit, About a Boy). She doesn’t know he’s a powerful creature of the night; he doesn’t know she’s a back-in-the-day Buffy searching for London’s latest fiend.
The series tweaks existing lore in a way that keeps the well-known story fresh. And Rhys Meyers certainly seems to enjoy himself as the impulsive, tortured central character – so does Smurfit as the delightfully aloof Lady Jayne. At the close of the first hour, the series’ weakest points are its sluggish pace and the Mina-Grayson connection. (If you’re intrigued by the latter, hang in; future episodes give De Gouw and Rhys Meyers greater opportunities to sell us on their characters’ infatuation.)
Enough about what we thought: What was your take on Dracula? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!
Universal Pictures has moved its horror remake Dracula from an August 8, 2014 release to October 3, 2014. It will now go up against Fox’s The Book of Life in its new date. If it would have stayed in the August 8 slot, it would have gone up against Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Hundred-Foot Journey.
Luke Evans stars as Dracula in this reboot that takes elements from Bram Stoker‘s novel and blends it with the true story of Vlad the Impaler. Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper and Samantha Barks co-star. Production is currently under way in Belgrade, Serbia, and we reported yesterday that Legendary Pictures may co-finance the project under their new five-year deal with Universal.
In related news, Universal has also set a September 12, 2014 release date for Search Party, which stars Krysten Ritter and Alison Brie. The Hangover writer Scot Armstrong makes his directorial debut with the comedy, which follows two friends who decide to reunite their buddy with the woman he was originally set to marry. No other movies are slated for release on September 12, 2014 at this time.
Search Party comes to theaters September 12th, 2014 and stars Krysten Ritter, Alison Brie, Shannon Woodward, T.J. Miller, Adam Pally, Lance Reddick, Jason Mantzoukas, Rosa Salazar. The film is directed by Scot Armstrong.