Without needing to see a pilot, NBC has given a 10-episode order to “Dracula,” a fresh take on Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel, featuring Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the lead role.
The new “Dracula,” a co-production between NBC and Sky Living, comes from “Downton Abbey” producers Carnival Film & Television and was scripted by Cole Haddon.
“Dracula” will keep Bram Stoker’s 1896 setting. NBC says that the show “[I]ntroduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.”
And we know what you’re saying: “But Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ doesn’t begin with Dracula arriving in London posing as an American entrepreneur.”
It’s a loose adaptation, apparently.
Everybody involved gets a blurb in NBC’s announcement.
“We are delighted that Jonathan Rhys Meyers has chosen this project to return to television and have built an amazing team of producers behind the camera to deliver this extraordinary show. Since 1897, the story of Dracula has captivated readers and viewers alike and this sexy, updated twist on the classic also promises not to disappoint,” blurbs Michael Edelstein, President, NBCUniversal International Television Production.
Rhys Meyers earned an Emmy nomination (and a Golden Globes win) for his work on CBS’ “Elvis.” On the small screen, he followed that with Showtime’s “The Tudors,” for which he received two Golden Globe nominations. On the big screen, he’s been seen in “Match Point,” “Mission: Impossible III” and “Albert Nobbs.”
Blurbs Sky’s Head of Drama Anne Mensah, “I am so pleased to be announcing our first-ever co-production with NBCUniversal and we are delighted to be bringing an actor as exciting as Jonathan Rhys Meyers to Sky. ‘Dracula’ combines the biggest and best talent both in front of and behind the camera and will keep our customers intrigued and enthralled. With its dark, twisted and intelligent script it absolutely sets the scale, tone and ambition for future dramas on Sky Living.”
States Sky Living’s Acting Director Antonia Hurford-Jones, “As one of the nation’s most iconic literary characters, this new incarnation of ‘Dracula’ feels like the perfect fit for our Sky Living audience. It’s an extremely exciting time for the channel and this co-production with NBCUniversal marks the start of big things to come.”
NBC has been moving forward aggressively on similar international drama co-productions that are sent to series without going to pilot first. The network had minimal success with this spring’s “The Firm,” but hopes are higher for next year’s “Hannibal” from producer Bryan Fuller.
“Dracula” will begin production later this year. Stay tuned for additional casting and production information.
And guess what? This is just one of several “Dracula” and vampire-themed productions heading to the big and small screen. Attracting the most publicity in recent weeks is Eli Roth’s “Harker,” featuring Russell Crowe as Dracula.