Dueling Dracula Movies From Universal and Warner Bros.

Things are looking pretty good for Count Dracula. Not only is he set to star in an upcoming NBC series, but he's also the subject of a pair of films from Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures.

According to Vulture, Warner Bros. is moving forward on Harker, which spins the Dracula tale by making Jonathan Harker a Scotland Yard detective instead of a boring lawyer. Director Jaume Collet-Serra of Unknown and Orphan fame signed on last year to bring the script by Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy to life. Collet-Serra was going to bring Akira to the big screen, but when the studio put the live-action adaptation on hold, he was apparently moved back on Harker. The site reports that Russell Crowe is in talks to play the lead, although it's still very early in the process.

The same day word surfaced about Crowe's possible involvement, Deadline reported that Universal decided to dust off Dracula Year Zero, a project that's been on and off for years now. Originally Alex Proyas (I, Robot) signed on to direct with Sam Worthington starring, but the movie was shelved after running into budget problems. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless wrote a new version of the script, and Gary Shore is being courted as the new director. Worthington's role was intended to be that of Vlad the Impaler, whose bloody history inspired the creation of Dracula.

It will be interesting to see not only which Dracula flick makes it to the big screen first, but whether these rather expensive-sounding films can actually be done in such a way that they make financial sense for the increasingly wary studios.

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