Dario Argento’s new version of Dracula in 3D premiered at Cannes and looks to be headed directly to DVD. Looking at the history of Dracula adaptations, one sees a blend of different directors bringing quite different sensibilities to the exact same story. How much do Francis Ford Coppola and Dan Curtis really have in common? Todd Browning and Jess Franco?
Naturally enough–at least to those of a speculative bent–the next question is about future versions. And who might be an excellent choice to make the next big version of Bram Stoker’s famous novel?
How about Joss Whedon? He’s hot off the extraordinary success of The Avengers, showing he’s successfully mastered the art of telling a multi-character story on the big screen. After Cabin in the Woods surely no one can doubt his skill at telling a horror story. Meanwhile fans of Buffy as well as Firefly and others can attest to how well he handles character dynamics (including love stories) in a fresh, insightful and entertaining manner. As an avowed radical feminist, we can count on him not falling into the trap of most versions–i.e. making the female characters types rather than people. Consider also what he’s done with vampires before now. Better than almost anyone, he made creatures like Spike and Drusilla and Harmony and Darla people as well as monsters. And as the film went into pre-production we could confidently expect petition after petition to cast regulars like Felicia Day, Eliza Dushku or Summer Glau. Which would be fun.
His actual take on the story would most likely blend drama, humor and thrills with startling results. Why? Because he’s Joss Whedon and that is what he does! I’d half-expect him to make Renfield a woman and give us a real glimpse of the Prince of Darkness’ relationship with his Brides. More, somehow he’d make Quincy’s death a genuine surprise. Because he can do that. Probably by making us fall in love with that character. A very Whedon-eque thing to do. Damn him. That’s why we love Joss. Damn him to hell.
Tara, I still miss you. And Walsh.
It would be hard to imagine a more sumptuously beautiful version of Dracula than one created by Ridley Scott. This man made Legend and Blade Runner. He made the Roman Empire both gritty yet grand beyond words in Gladiator! He terrified us more than perhaps anyone before or since when he directed Alien.
Honestly, can you imagine what Castle Dracula would look like? Or the Westenra family tomb? His staging of the Demeter alone would likely turn out awesome! Plus he’s got the clout to bring in absolutely A-name actors to a film. Just in recent years he’s worked with Russell Crowe, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace and Leonardo di Caprio as well as Cate Blanchett and Max von Sydow. Perhaps even more than 1992’s film, we would remember a Ridley Scott version of Dracula, watching it over and over again to catch subtle visual nuances and details. Consider–this is the man who decided the character of Darkness needed to be a satyr. Now take a look at how Tim Curry actually looked in Legend!
Some point out there’s actually quite a bit of swashbuckling in parts of the novel. Who better to emphasize that, to make the story exciting, than Steven Spielberg? We perhaps best think of him in terms of Jaws and E.T. and Indiana Jones. Small wonder. And can anyone doubt he knows how to make an exciting story, to grab you by the bootstraps and take you for a ride? Yet he has a dramatic side as well, perhaps best demonstrated in Schindler’s List. Likewise as time has gone on he–unlike a certain contemporary director friend of his (coughgeorgelucscough)–increasingly focuses on the interplay of characters. Look at his recent movies like Catch Me If You Can and War Horse as well as his more gritty films like Minority Report. He might well make a startling, even thought-provoking version–and it seems certain he’d made a fun one.
So–what about you? Who would you like to see direct Dracula?