EXCLUSIVE: In recent years Universal Pictures has become defined by its The Fast And The Furious, Despicable Me, Bourne and Jurassic Park franchises. But the studio’s most enduring legacy is its library of classic movie monsters that include Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature Of The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Bride Of Frankenstein, and The Mummy. Universal is now dedicating renewed resources and an unprecedented, far-reaching commitment to revitalize its monster heritage.
The studio is in early stages of developing a substantial new production endeavor that will expand and unify a network of classic characters and stories. The architects of that narrative will be Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan. Kurtzman recently broke with partner Roberto Orci, but his big-scale projects have included Transformers, Star Trek and The Amazing Spider-Man. Morgan is the writer behind five installments of The Fast And The Furious, which has been Universal’s most reliably lucrative franchise. It’s not set in stone yet if either will write, but they will soon be going around town enlisting talent to bring new cinematic life to these enduring characters from lore, literature and Universal’s own library. While Universal has selectively tapped its Movie Monster library for The Mummy, Van Helsing, The Wolfman, and the upcoming Dracula Untold, this will be the first time that the studio has formalized an approach to these classic characters in a cohesive, connected way rather than as a series of stand-alone projects by disparate filmmaking teams. Read More »
One more piece has fallen into place for NBC‘s schedule next season with the network opting not to bring back vampire drama Dracula for a second season. That leaves us with Parenthood, which is still in a holding pattern for a 13-episode sixth season. The deadline for the actors to agree to a cost-cutting episodic guarantee reduction, that would have them appear in as few as 9 of the final episodes, came and went yesterday afternoon with no agreement reached for some of the key cast members. Things have been mostly quiet since though there is still hope that the beloved family drama will come back for a final chapter.
Related: ‘Parenthood’ Future In Limbo Amid Standoff With Cast
Both Dracula and Hannibal, which shared the Friday 10 PM slot this season, are produced under a different model that allows for a lower license fee, making them advantageous for NBC. Dracula (1.8) premiered stronger than Hannibal (1.6 in Season 1, 1.1 in Season 2). It lost steam after the solid debut, and there had been some issues with star Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who received good reviews, during the shoot. With Hannibal‘s license fee poised to become even more lucrative for Season 3, the network renewed that series.
Shares in 21st Century Fox-controlled BSkyB were up today in London after falling as much as 10% on Monday. That drop came after the UK’s BT Sport scored a big goal by winning the exclusive broadcast rights to 350 UEFA Champions League and Europa League soccer matches per year from the 2015/2016 season. The £897M ($1.4B) deal that was announced Saturday marks the first time a single UK broadcaster has won the exclusive live rights to all matches from both tournaments (BSkyB and ITV currently share them). It was seen as a big kick in the shins to Britain’s leading pay-TV group, but could end up as a boon for British producers. Sky’s recent growth is through its entertainment channels, while premium sports and movies are relatively stable. So, increasing the pot on acquisitions and original commissions looks like “a sensible place to keep investing,” I’m told. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Shameless and Black Sails actor Zach McGowan has been added to the Gary Shore-directed Dracula: Year Zero. He’ll play a character called Shkelgim, a gypsy chief, in the origin story that has Luke Evans as Prince Vlad, the man who would become the storied bloodsucker. Dominic Cooper also stars. Michael De Luca and Alissa Phillips are producers on the pic, which Matt Sazama and Burt Sharpless wrote based on Bram Stoker’s iconic novel. Universal has set an August 8, 2014 release. McGowan recently did a multi-season stint on Showtime’s Shameless and plays Captain Charles Vane in the Starz original pirate series Black Sails which debuts next year. He’s repped by Innovative Artists and Intellectual Artists Management.
Here are new trailers just released by NBC for the network’s new fall shows, which were officially unveiled yesterday ahead of the upfront presentation that’s just getting underway in New York. Yesterday, NBC released some first-look clips. Here are the latest trailers — still waiting for About A Boy and The Family Guide it seems,so keep checking back:
Dracula — Drama
Ironside — Drama
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Fast & Furious 6‘s Luke Evans stars in Dracula, about Prince Vlad, the man who would become the mythological bloodsucker. Gary Shore came aboard as director more than a year ago after the studio scrapped the film because of budget concerns; Sam Worthington had been attached to star with Alex Proyas directing. The latest script draft was from Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless. Michael De Luca remains the producer on the pic, for which Universal has set an August 8, 2014 release. That puts it alone for now on the date but comes a week after Disney’s Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Dracula has found his Van Helsing. Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted), who will play the famous vampire hunter, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Mr. Selfridge) have been cast in the upcoming NBC/Sky Living HD 10-episode drama series Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Related: PILOT SEASON: The Year Of Dracula Read More »
With young vampires taking big bites out of movie box office and TV ratings in the Twilight franchise, HBO’s True Blood and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, the granddaddy of them all bloodsuckers, Count Dracula, is making a big comeback. TV history buffs may correct me but, while the legend of Dracula has been mined endlessly on the big screen going back to Bela Lugosi, I cannot think of a single live-action American series about Dracula (NBC’s super-short-lived 1979 series Cliffhangers featured a Curse Of Dracula segment, and the syndicated Dracula: The Series was Canadian). Next fall we may have three.
First off is NBC’s straight-to-series drama Dracula, in pre-production for a possible fall launch. Set in 1890s London, it stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Count and also features his archenemy, Abraham Van Helsing. At the time NBC’s Dracula was announced last summer, Starz said it is developing Vlad Dracula, a drama series from Spartacus producer Rob Tapert “tracing Dracula’s evolution from a revered ruler to the world’s most feared vampire.”
Last month, Showtime gave a straight-to-series order to John Logan and Sam Mendes’ Penny Dreadful. The drama, also set in Victorian London, features “some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters,” with Dracula and Van Helsing front and center. Two weeks after Showtime’s announcement, ABC gave a pilot order to drama Gothica, from producer Mark Gordon. Like Penny Dreadful, it too weaves together classic horror characters and stories, but in present day. One of the most prominent among them is Dracula, who is the series’ main antagonist. Guillermo Del Toro/Carlton Cuse’s FX pilot The Strain, which will likely go to series, also revolves around vampires. Read More »
Irish actress Victoria Smurfit (Bulletproof Monk) has been cast in the upcoming NBC/Sky Living HD drama series Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The series re-introduces Dracula (Meyers) as he arrives in London, posing as American entrepreneur Alan Grayson who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier but falls hopelessly in love with Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw) who appears to be the reincarnation of his dead wife. Smurfit, repped by UTA, the Collective and UK’s United Agents, will play the lithe and beautiful Lady Jayne who is instantly attracted to Grayson and pursues him. Read More »
Australian actress Jessica de Gouw (The Dinner Meeting, Arrow) has landed the female lead opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers in NBC/Sky Living‘s 10-episode series Dracula. Described as “Dangerous Liaisons meets The Tudors”, the series is set in 1890s London. It centers on Dracula (Meyers), who arrives in London posing as American entrepreneur Allen Grayson, who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier, but he falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. De Gouw will play that woman, Mina Murray, a striking medical student who is engaged to Jonathan Harker but upon meeting Grayson both are instantly mesmerized by the other’s uncanny resemblance to someone from their past.
Related: NBC Orders 10-Episode ‘Dracula’ Series Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers
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EXCLUSIVE: Four years after he left TV producing to focus on feature directing, former Imagine TV topper Tony Krantz re-entered TV last summer. In his first year back, he landed a series on the air, NBC’s upcoming Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and a pilot order at ABC for Scruples. Now Krantz has set up six more series projects at cable and broadcast networks through his independent production company Flame Ventures. All are executive produced by him, with Flame’s Reece Pearson co-executive producing.
At NBC, Flame is finalizing a deal for Cuba, a drama written by Jorge Zamacona (Homicide) and executive produced by CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria and former CNN President Jonathan Klein. The project, which will be produced by Universal TV, tells the story of American and Cuban families at the dawn of post-Castro Cuba with an entire nation up for grabs. Read More »