After putting the breaks on the live-action Akira remake, Warner Bros. shifted their attached director, Jaume Collet-Serra, back to his other in-development effort: the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced thriller Harker. To get the wheels in motion on this long-sidelined reimagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the studio is seeking to secure a star for the film's title role, and Vultureunveils Warner Bros. is courting none other than Aussie Oscar-winner Russell Crowe. In this re-invention of the tale, Harker is no whimpering lawyer but rather a hard-nosed Scotland Yard detective who is on the hunt for the ghoulish fiend behind a string of grisly murders within his jurisdiction.

Crowe's played a long line of detectives, from his breakthrough performance in L.A. Confidential, to his memorable turn in American Gangster and his in-production portrayal of the merciless Inspector Javert in Tom Hooper's star-stuffed Les Miserables adaptation. So it's obviously a role to which he's well-suited. It's more a question of whether or not the stern leading man would be interested in doing a detective movie that skews so far into the horror/fantasy genre. This is not an area to which Crowe seems to be particularly drawn. Not only has he appeared in predominantly gritty and realistically styled dramas for the past fifteen years or so, but he recently shot down the rumor that he might lead the sci-fi-fueled RoboCop remake with terse and cold efficiency.

The only exception to this pattern seems to be the upcoming Man of Steel, where Crowe will play Jor-El, the extraterrestrial father of Superman. While that is a curious break from the norm for Crowe, I doubt it means he'll be interested in stalking vampires on the streets of Victorian London. Yet I kind of hope I'm wrong because typing that sentence made me realize how much I'd like to see that, partially because I miss the wild and slightly goofy Crowe who played the ultimate serial killer, SID 6.7, in the largely forgotten sci-fi thriller Virtuosity. I would never argue Crowe's not a great actor, but I can't recall the last time I actually had fun watching him onscreen. He just makes it look like work.

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