There are two stories here. One is a pretty standard casting scoop. Encore says Sam Worthington is set to star in Alex Proyas’s long talked about Dracula: Year One. Whether that means he’ll be a vampire or the movie’s human protagonist is unclear. He’s merely pegged as having the “lead role”. Since it’s Sam Worthington, that probably means human vampire battler.

Fighting monsters seems to be Worthington’s stock and trade, though I find his continued casting in big-budget effects movies somewhat inexplicable. On the whole he’s proven himself to be terrible. His best performance to date happened in Avatar, a movie where he’s rarely ever actually on screen. That says something about his ability as an actor. I expect this sort of casting from McG, Alex Proyas should know better.

The other story here is far more confusing. The thing is, Encore has since removed their report on Worthington in Dracula: Year One from their website. You can still view it using Google cache here but they’ve erased it and offer this baffling explanation for why it’s gone:
This article has been removed for legal reasons by request of Universal Pictures managing director Mike Baard:

“I would ask please that all reporting of our presentation be removed from your website with immediate effect and that no reference is made to it in any future publication of Encore Magazine or on your website. Universal Pictures reserves its rights in this matter.”

The article was a report on an event held in Australia called the Australian International Movie Convention. Encore got its information simply by attending the event and blogging about what they heard announced. So here’s the question: since when does Universal Pictures have “rights” in the matter of people reporting things that they’ve had spoken to them? Did Encore’s reporter sign some sort of waiver before he entered the convention? That seems unikely. A visit to the AIMC’s website makes it appear as though it’s a fairly standard event, not some secret, clandestine meeting. There’s a link where anyone can register to attend and, in a bitter twist of irony, the convention is actually sponsored by the news website

Something’s very strange here. Universal Pictures should have no domain over the reporting of publicly announced information, or the reporting of any information at all for that matter. If this were done as a favor, it would be a move lacking in integrity on the part of Encore, but at least that would make sense. Citing “legal reasons” does not. This isn’t a YouTube video using copyrighted material. This is a piece of factual information which appears to have been announced to the general public. I’m no copyright lawyer and maybe there’s a reasonable explanation here, but the notice posted on Encore’s page makes this seem dark and ominous. On the other hand this does come from Australia, where their recent censorship record hasn’t exactly been stellar. Legal experts, chime in.

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