This time last year, Chloe Zhao was best known as the writer and director of The Rider, an acclaimed independent drama that flew largely under the radar when it was released in 2018, but drew rave reviews from almost anyone that got around to seeing it. However, these days she’s got a rocket strapped to her back as one of the fastest-rising filmmakers in the industry.
Zhao is now a two-time Academy Award winner thanks to Nomadland winning Best Picture and Best Director at the recent Oscars, making her just the second woman to scoop the latter prize after The Hurt Locker‘s Kathryn Bigelow, while her next project is a little film known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Eternals, and you can guarantee that the comic book blockbuster will be slapping her newly won accolades all over the promotional materials as the marketing campaign begins to kick into high gear closer to its November release.
Eternals isn’t even due to arrive for another seven months, but the 38 year-old already has another movie lined up, and it sounds wild. Back in February, Zhao was announced to be tackling Dracula, with the caveat that the pic is a futuristic sci-fi Western. It seems positively insane, but in a new interview, she played down the crazier aspects of the adaptation while offering up some fresh details.
“It’s just like looking at [Nomadland writer] Jessica Bruder’s book, and to really see behind the pages, to discover the meanings behind each page and the essence of it. I’m a huge fan of the book. And I wanted to see what essence I can find [in Dracula], and then be able to re-imagine this really beloved character I love so much. I like complicated characters. [Dracula] was a very important book for me. Immortality is something that I started exploring on Eternals, but is something I want to question and understand.”
Zhao’s Dracula is one of just four projects focusing on the iconic bloodsucker currently in the works alongside Karyn Kusama’s straightforward take on Bram Stoker’s novel, blackly comedic spinoff Renfield and the musical Monster Mash, but there’s just something so out there about the idea of a futuristic sci-fi Western version of the tale that makes it awfully exciting.