On Monday we reported that Summit Entertainment — the studio behind the ‘Twilight’ franchise — is developing a new sort of “vampire” movie with Brad Pitt’s production company. The new film is to be called Vlad, and will focus on the real life prince who served as the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s famous novel, “Dracula”.
Entertainment Weekly sat down with actor Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), who wrote the script for Vlad, to learn more about just what he has planned for this new film.
“My hope when writing it was for the end result to be more Braveheart than 300,” he said, “and I think that as it’s evolved, we’ve got a pretty good mixture of both.”
Hunnam revealed that he envisions someone like Christian Bale or Colin Farrell in the role, but is leaning towards Farrell. And he reiterates that the film will have nothing to do with fictional vampires, but will hint at the fact that this man is the origin of popular vampirism.
According to Hunnam, the entire first act introduces Vlad as a child and his transition to adulthood. Here’s how he describes it:
First Act: “Basically what happened was, the Ottoman Empire was expanding at an exponentially fast rate with a father-son duo of sultans, who increased the size of their territory tenfold within 50 years. They conquered Vlad’s father, also named Vlad Dracul—Vlad the Dragon. In Eastern Orthodox Catholicism, because of the iconography of George slaying the dragon, the dragon and the devil was one in the same. If you add an ‘a,’ it denotes ‘son of,’ so Dracula literally translates to ‘son of the devil.’ So right away, from the moment he was born, before he did anything heinous of his own volition, he had a pretty bad rap because of his name. So the Ottoman said to Vlad’s father, ‘You can stay in power, rule your country as you wish, allow Catholicism to flourish, but you have to allow my people who will come to live here now equal rights to their faith, Islam.’ There were all of these terms, but overall it was a pretty generous deal until the final moment:
The Sultan wanted Vlad’s two youngest children. He intended to raise the children himself, make them devout Muslims, then put them back on the throne at a later date with the proper bloodline and yet loyalty to the Ottoman. So Vlad and his brother Radu went. Vlad was about 12, and already had a pretty elevated sense of who he was, but Radu was only seven and much, much more malleable. So they ended up, in Vlad’s mind, corrupting his brother and converting his brother to Islam. Radu was treated like a prince by the Ottomans, and Vlad was trapped like a slave, like a prisoner. About eight years after they got taken by the Ottoman, his father was murdered, and Vlad decided he was going to escape, avenge his father’s murder, take his throne back and oppose the Ottoman. So he escaped from court, went to his brother, and his brother refused to come with him. It started a 17-year war between the brothers, Christian vs. Muslim.”
This chapter in European history hasn’t been approached on film before, and we congratulate Hunnam on tackling it with a eye towards making something more akin to Braveheart than another ‘Poofy the Vegan Vampire’. This will be an interesting project to watch develop.