Following Blumhouse Productions’ drastic overhauling of The Invisible Man story for Leigh Whannell’s 2020 horror remake, the director of the upcoming Dracula reboot has promised her film will stick closely to the source material.
Talking on The Kingscast, a podcast about the works of horror author Stephen King, Karyn Kusama said: “It’s a fairly faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel.”
First published in 1897, Stoker’s gothic horror novel introduced the character Count Dracula, setting in stone pop culture’s vision of vampires forever. The book is told from a number of different perspectives, and takes the form of diary entries, letters, and newspaper articles that tell the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England.
Kusama, whose credits include Destroyer, Jennifer’s Body and The Invitation, says her film will offer multiple perspectives on the story too, but will crucially avoid romanticising the title character.
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“It is using the idea of something that gets overlooked in Dracula - adaptations of Dracula in the past - is the idea of multiple voices,” the filmmaker explains. “And, in fact, the book is filled with different points of view. And the one point of view we don’t get access to is - and most, if not all adaptations give access to - is Dracula himself.
“So I would just say, in some respects, this is gonna be an adaptation called Dracula but it’s not the same kind of romantic hero that we’ve seen in the past, in past interpretations of Dracula.”
The story of Dracula has been adapted for the big screen countless times, with 1922’s seminal Nosferatu being the character’s first movie appearance. Bela Lugosi’s 1931 Dracula set the template for future screen versions, kickstarting the Universal Monsters movie world.
Christopher Lee’s Hammer Dracula dominated movie screens in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, while Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula saw Gary Oldman playing a seductive version of the iconic character.
Universal rebooted the character in 2014’s Dracula Untold with Luke Evans in the title role. It was intended to kick start a franchise, but fizzled on release.
Now Kusama’s version will hope to break new ground, and follow in the success of The Invisible Man, which took $128 million at the global box office before the coronavirus outbreak cut short its theatrical run.
The currently untitled Dracula reboot will be written by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay, but it has no release date as yet. It’s not clear if it will be connected to Dexter Fletcher’s Renfield, which centres on Dracula’s henchman, that is also in development at Universal.