New Dracula Series – What Does It Need To Work?
You can’t keep a good vampire down. I really enjoyed the NBC television series DRACULA. I can’t say I out-and-out LOVED it, as it deviated a little too far from what I feel a proper Dracula story must constitute. Also star Jonathan Rhys Meyers was just too short to play Dracula. When the NBC series got cancelled, I was a little sad, but not too much. I already knew that the movie DRACULA UNTOLD was in production, and I knew that there would be more Dracula after that. We will never suffer too long a dearth of Dracula, thankfully. That story and that character simply will not lie quietly. And that is why we love it so much.
Now there’s going to be a *new* DRACULA television series, this one from the folks who did the Sherlock Holmes series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. This is exciting news. What can we expect from this new series? What SHOULD we expect? Here is a list of these guys’ suggestions for all things a true Dracula series must have. Let us peruse them, you and I.
(1.) Fangs? Check. Gotta have the fangs. (2.) The era? Keep it in the 1890s, you mean? Not necessarily. It depends. (3.) Tell the origin story. Ah, but WHICH origin story? I want MY Dracula to have a healthy dose of the real-life biography of the historical Dracula. Seems like they mean the original story from the novel, though. Do we really need to have that story told AGAIN. I mean, sure, *I’d* watch it. But might we not use the original story as the BACKstory, the foundation for some new tales? (4.) Bring back the blood? Yes. (5.) Make Dracula a bit ruthless? Yep. (6.) Give him a sense of humor? Now that one could be tricky. If it were done right, maybe. Otherwise, no. Better to use some other character for comic relief. (7.) Make him Hungarian again? Sure. Or Romanian, which would be more historically accurate. Failing that, cast somebody who can do a good Romanian accent. (Think Gary Oldman, here.)
I think they left out the most important factor, though: the leading man. Not just anybody can play Dracula. Bela Lugosi-s and Christopher Lee-s aren’t easy to come by. He’s gotta look the part and be able to pull off the gravitas. And–sorry Jonathan Rhys Meyers–he’s gotta be fairly tall. Or else they could CGI him to make him bigger, like they did with the Hobbits in the LOTR films, only in reverse. Probably easier to cast an actor who’s the right height, though.