|Alex Proyas – the Australian director of sci-fi epics like I, Robot and the vastly underrated Dark City – was on hand at Comic-Con today with his first project in five years, the Nicolas Cage thriller, Knowing. |
But, when we came face-to-face with the Australian helmer, we were just as keen to find out more about his next project: the ambitious horror, Dracula: Year Zero.
As the title might suggest, the movie is a prequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the novel, not the Francis Ford Coppola flick), purporting to tell the story of how one Vlad Dracul became a vampire and, arguably, the greatest villain of all time.
“For me, the script is a very unique take on that legendary character that we think we all know so well,” Proyas told Empire, exclusively. “Creating an origin tale of that character seemed like a no-brainer, but I think it really works. It’s a really emotional journey that that character takes – it’s a wonderfully tragic tale.”
It’s very early days on Dracula: Year Zero for Proyas. Indeed, he’s only just embarked on the post-production period for Knowing, but he’s already beginning to look ahead to a film that should substantially raise the stakes for vampire movies. Ahem.
“It’s a hugely epic canvas,” says Proyas. And with early drafts of the script boasting, for example, vampire armies, he’s not wrong. “But right now with my work, I’m in a process of trying to ground it. I’m getting away from stylisation and trying to make things as realistic as possible. I wanna approach Dracula in the same way. I want to make it a very authentic-feeling piece. It does require less emphasis on CGI, more emphasis on actually creating a world that we can move in.”
There are some, of course, who might suggest that explaining the origin and motivation of a truly great monster only goes to defang it – look at Hannibal Rising and Rob Zombie’s Halloween for proof. But Dracula: Year Zero has immense promise, not least because of Proyas’ ability to conjure astonishing visuals. This could be one to keep a very close eye on.