'Dracula', 'BZRK', 2 'Sleepy Hollow's' and the reboot of 'Blake's 7'

As networks and movie studios try more and more to take old brands and rework them, they’ve found it profitable to do prequels or sequels or, as the current flavor of word parsing, re-imaging. Which is what is happening with Dracula (though Universal, which will coproduce, does own Bram Stoker’s Dracula) as NBC has given a 10 episode order new version of classic tale. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, late of The Tudors, will play the famed vampire as he arrives in London in hopes of wreaking havoc on the Victorian society that centuries ago “ruined his life.” However, his quest for revenge hits a snag when he falls for a woman who appears to be the second coming of his long-deceased wife (though Dark Shadows explored this 45 years ago). The script is by co-executive producer Cole Haddon. It will be executive produced by 24’s Tony Krantz, HBO films Cloin Callender and Downton Abbey producers Carnival Films & Television. It’s a co-production by Universal and the U.K.’s Sky Living.

With The Wolverine moving quickly towards production, the role of Viper remains uncast. It was announced that Jessica Biel had been cast in the role, but talks broke down over financial issues. Then word broke that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy star Svetlana Khodchenkova would get the part. But 20th Century Fox is seemly distancing themselves from that rumor. The movie will be filmed in Australia (as will the X Men: First Class sequel in January) and there may be an issue of going with more European actress versus an American. Or, they’re just finding a difficult role to cast. I’ll keep you posted.

Michael Ross will adapt BZRK, the young adult novel trilogy by Michael Grant and Shadow Gang. Sony Pictures acquired the franchise last fall for producers Sam Raimi and Josh Donen. BZRK is about a team of gifted teens control biological nanobot robots warriors and they battle another group that is controlled by conjoined twins whose nanobots are brainwashing world leaders. The megalomaniacal twins are trying to take over the world. Michael Grant also co-created the popular 1990’s intermediate children series, the Animorphs.

As Disney re-works some of the Pixar movies into 3D, they’ve decided to move up Monsters, Inc. 3D from January 2013 to open a week before Christmas, on December 19. With the prequel movie, Monsters University, set to debut on June 21, 2013, Disney/Pixar seems to be anxious to get people motivated. Still, Disney/Pixar has the 3D converted Finding Nemo set for September, which should carry a trailer for Monsters University as well. Speaking of Finding Nemo, the studio announced that they’ve given Andrew Stanton a get out of jail free card for the massive financial write-off that was John Carter and have signed him to helm a sequel to the 2003′s fish tale that took in $867 million worldwide to become Pixar’s second-highest-grossing film and the third-biggest Disney animated film release ever.

Casting…Former Heroes actor Jack Coleman –who spent the last two seasons recurring on The Office- will join the cast of Castle…Former Lost actor Ken Leung will guest star on the season opener of another Lost alumni actor, Michael Emerson’s Person of Interest…Larry Fishburn is circling a role on NBC’s midseason drama Hannibal…Clea Duvall has landed a role on the second season of American Horror Story.

Two TV series based on Washington Irving’s classic tale of a midnight headless rider who cuts people’s heads off are making their rounds in Hollywood. First one up comes from Missing writers Grant Scharbo and Patrick Macmanus, which they’re in talks with The CW;  a series called Sleepy Hollow, which is  a modern view of  classic horror tale by making Ichabod Crane into an FBI agent who travels to the titular town to check out a beheading. The second, also called Sleepy Hollow, is from Fringe and Hawaii Five-0 producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, which landed at FOX with a pilot commitment.

The late Terry Nation, who created the legendary Daleks for Doctor Who, also created one the most underrated science fiction series back in 1978 with Blake’s 7. Set 700 years in the future, the original four-season run followed a small group of rebels battling against the massive Terran Federation, and featured cool tech concepts and some pretty interesting themes for a low-budget sci-fi series. Much like today’s anti-heroes that populate popular shows such as Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, Blake’s 7 was unique back in 1978. While Blake is an idealistic freedom fighter, his associates are petty crooks, smugglers and killers. The character of Avon, a technical genius who exhibits more interest in self-preservation and seeking personal wealth than wanting to help others, became the break-out character of the show. Played by Paul Darrow, Avon became the character everyone loved to hate. While Nation pitched the show to the BBC as “The Dirty Dozen” in space, most of Blake and his crew antics were more Robin Hood in origin. Now a reboot is being shopped around by Georgeville Television, with Casino Royale director Martin Campbell signed on to put the pieces together. Joe Pokaski (Heroes, CSI) has been tapped to write the pilot.

One thought on “'Dracula', 'BZRK', 2 'Sleepy Hollow's' and the reboot of 'Blake's 7'”

  1. The movie, Sleepy Hollow, embodies Tim Burton’s unique take on one of the most well-known horror tales of all time, with a few new plot twists and greater character development, including a dark past for Ichabod Crane and a “story behind the story” of what’s going on in the haunted town, which is beautifully rendered, dark and foggy for an eerie atmosphere.The dream cast puts in great performances, but obviously it’s Johnny Depp who steals the show with his intuitive and sometimes over-the-top portrayal of the anti-hero, Ichabod Crane, who displays admirable bravery while at the same time often succumbing to fear.The lavish production, masterful acting, background music, beautiful periodic sets and costumes and the careful attention to detail, most notable in the special effects used to bring the headless horseman “to life”, if you will, all come together to tell the tale of Sleepy Hollow’s plight and deliverance as it’s never been told before. It’s unlikely that this cinematic version will ever be surpassed. Superb!

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