We’re at the point now where any new adaptation of Dracula is met with eye rolls, since you have to question how much more there is to do with the property after its multiple dozens of adaptations over the last century. The next attempt, to be directed by Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), is looking to change that perception.
The original novel is an epistolary tale, meaning that rather than a regular prose narrative telling the story, events are instead related by a series of written documents such as letters, diaries and ship’s log entries, along with newspaper articles to portray events that the characters themselves don’t witness. Most crucially, none of them are from the point of view of the Count himself, as Kusama explains.
“Something that gets overlooked in adaptations of Dracula in the past is the idea of multiple voices. In fact, the book is filled with different points of view, and the one point of view we don’t get access to, and most adaptations give access to, is Dracula himself. So I would just say, in some respect, this is going to be an adaptation called Dracula, but it’s perhaps not the same kind of romantic hero that we’ve seen in past interpretations of Dracula.”
This version of Dracula will also form part of the revitalized Dark Universe, a series of movies inspired by the classic Universal Monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, etc. For a long time, it was assumed to be dead in the water after The Mummy was botched into mediocrity by its ham-fisted duplication of Iron Man’s universe-initiating formula and Tom Cruise’s narcissism, with the planned further installments ending up indefinitely postponed until the partnership with Blumhouse revitalized and retooled the project.
Like the recent The Invisible Man, this new version of Bram Stoker’s immortal tale will take place in the present day, presumably to replicate the aforementioned film’s success, and also to distance it from Dracula Untold, a subpar 2014 effort which for a while had been planned to be retrofitted into the shared universe.
With the countless iterations of Dracula we’ve seen over the years, managing to achieve anything new with it will be quite an accomplishment, but the mission statement to run counter to the vampire’s typical interpretation is a pretty good place to start.