Alex Proyas might want to look into getting some budgeting software or something, because this “over budget” thing is becoming bizarrely familiar. Let’s rehash! Just this week, Proyas’ Paradise Lost adaptation was shut down by Legendary due to a wicked combo of too much funds and too little technology, and now another project that Proyas lost out on because of a bloated budget is back in the news ‐ but for a very different reason. Universal Pictures is apparently bringing Dracula: Year Zero back from the dead, complete with a new director and likely a new cast.
Don’t remember this one? Neither did I, so let’s dig back into the FSR Crypt! Back in 2008, Proyas was set to direct the flick, a supposed “medieval epic” that would serve as origin story for the toothy one. The project languished until 2010, when Sam Worthington of all people was set to star as Dracula himself (Vlad the Impaler, should we be sticking to history). And then the blood ran dry and the budget was too high, and as Deadline Kendal so amusingly puts it, Universal “close[d] the coffin.” But that coffin is now open again, and in a big (wide?) way.
Universal is reportedly negotiating with Gary Shore to direct the film, complete with a new draft of the screenplay from its originators, screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. The film would mark Shore’s feature debut, as his resume currently only includes one short (The Draft) and a mess of commercial direction. However, Shore is a notorious go-getter who was on the shortlist to direct The Wolverine (thanks to a spec trailer he crafted for the character) and who nabbed a deal with Universal and Working Title Pictures for his still-unmade feature The Cup of Tears after he made a similar spec trailer for that film. What I’m saying is, the guy is due.
Sazama and Sharpless have a similar resume ‐ no features yet, but lots of hustle. The pair have been tapped to pen both a new Flash Gordon and the new Clue, and they sold a “futuristic pitch” to Chernin Entertainment back in September. They first sold their Dracula script to Universal back in 2006. Again, these dudes are due.
Yet, with all that new blood coming in, it looks like Worthington won’t be coming back, as “studio sources” report that he’s no longer involved.