Director Alex "I, Robot" Proyas will helm "Dracula Year Zero," Universal's origin tale about historical 'Vlad the Impaler', inspiration for author Bram Stoker's Victorian-era "Dracula" novel.
Proyas will work from a screenplay by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless that explores why Vlad is still considered a 'hero' in Romania.
"Dracula: Year Zero" is one of several upcoming Universal 'monster' movies including "Mummy 3" shooting in Montreal and actor Benicio "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" Del Toro starring as 'Larry Talbot' in an update of "The Wolf Man".
"Dracula: Year Zero" promises to weave vampiric mythology with the story of historical 'Vlad', changing the mass murderer into a kinder, gentler 'flawed hero', repositioning him as a vengeful victim rather than the beast of Stoker's novel:
Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He held in his hand an antique silver lamp, in which the flame burned without a chimney or globe of any kind, throwing long quivering shadows as it flickered in the draught of the open door. The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation.
"Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living man..."