Count Dracula has been a regular presence in the movie world for a century now, with numerous filmmakers putting their stamp on author Bram Stoker’s creation. As far as Hollywood is concerned, we haven’t seen the infamous vampire on the big screen since 2014’s Dracula Untold, but word’s come in that Eternals director Chloe Zhao is tackling her own Dracula movie, though not one that will depict the character through a traditional lens.
Chloe Zhao’s Dracula project, which she’ll write, direct and produce through her Highwayman production company, is described by THR as “an original, futuristic, sci-fi Western,” with themes of “being on society’s fringes” being present, like Zhao’s past work. This project isn’t officially titled yet, but it’s being housed at Universal Pictures, which makes sense given that Dracula has long been one of the studio’s classic Monsters lineup (this year marks the 90th anniversary of the Bela Lugosi-led Dracula movie). Here’s what Zhao had to say about her upcoming take on the Dracula mythos:
I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and the concept of the Other they embody. I’m very excited to work with Donna, Peter and the team at Universal to reimagine such a beloved character.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the only Dracula movie that’s currently in development. In March 2020, it was announced that Jennifer’s Body director Karyn Kusama will tackle a Dracula reboot for Blumhouse Productions, although much like last year’s The Invisible Man, this will be a contemporary adaptation. With Chloe Zhao’s Dracula story existing in a more fantastical genre space, there’s enough room for these two projects to stand out from one another, though it remains to be seen which one will arrive to the public first.
Chloe Zhao made her feature filmmaking debut with 2015’s Songs My Brother Taught, a drama that followed the relationship between a Lakota Sioux brother and his younger sister. That was followed by 2017’s The Rider, which was about a young cowboy in the heartland of America searching for a new identity after suffering a near-fatal head injury. Both of those movies were met positive reviews and scored various accolades.
Had things gone according to plan, Eternals would have been the immediate next entry on Chloe Zhao’s filmography, with that movie introducing the same-named group of god-like warriors from Marvel Comics to the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise and originally supposed to come out last November. However, as a a result of the complications ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic, Eternals has been pushed to November 2021. So now Zhao’s next movie up is Nomadland, which she worked on while tackling preproduction on Eternals. Nomadland stars Francis McDormand as a woman who departs her small town to travel across the America West, and it was met with critical acclaim at last year’s Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.
Dracula is just one of the many ways that the Universal Monsters brand is being reinvigorated for the modern era following the collapse of the studio’s original Dark Universe shared continuity plans. Other projects in the works include the Ryan Gosling-led Wolfman reboot, a Frankenstein reboot and a Van Helsing reboot, as well as Paul Feig trying to get Dark Army off the ground despite budgetary concerns. None of these projects have release dates yet.
As we wait for more news about Chloe Zhao’s Dracula movie, fans of the director can watch Nomadland in IMAX theaters now, and its wider theatrical rollout and Hulu release will happen on February 9. Eternals will follow on November 5. Look through our 2021 release schedule to learn what else is intended to hit theaters later this year.