Dracula Untold tells the often unheard story of the character’s origins. In the film Luke Evans plays Vlad The Impaler, a loyal prince to a small kingdom and family man , who will sacrifice his humanity to gain the dark powers he needs to save everything that he holds dear. The film is said to be the launching pad of the rumored monsters universe that Universal Pictures is creating. So it should be interesting to see if audiences respond well to the origins story.
We recently go the opportunity to speak to the director of Dracula Untold, Gary Shore. In it, he talks about what the character means to him, the responsibility of maintaining Dracula’s iconic status as a cinematic character, future films, and where he sees this Dracula going from here. The film also stars with Sarah Gadon and Dominic Cooper. Hit the jump to check it out.
What does the character of Dracula mean to you?
I didn’t grow up on the 1930 classic monster movies. I think when you are a kid and you see these black and white monster movies you tend to think they hokey. It was only when you get a little bit older you have more of an appreciation for it and its cinema history. Just an incredible work done on special effects, and make up at the time, just really good storytelling. Universal had a period for about four years, near the 1930s, of just banging these movies out that became classics.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility trying to maintain Dracula’s reputation?
So the responsibility on a cinematic level or historical level within the studio. But the biggest responsibility for me was to try and take this character, bring him into the current period, and what I think an audience may want. What would an audience find entertaining. This isn’t the Dracula of Bram Stoker’s novels. The beginning seeds to be able to get there. It sets itself in the 1460s and made a bridge to what would eventually be Bram Stoker’s Dracula 400 years later.
So did that help you determine the tone of the film?
The tone of the film was determined very early on. I wanted to first of all – to tell the story of who this guy was before he became Dracula. Who was the man behind the myth? I was focused a lot on the history plot. But you know we have to make an interesting film, so you can spend a little bit of time weaving those historical elements, but there comes a time where I have to make that bridge to absolute fiction, and when it comes to that time, you just have fun with it.
There’s been a lot of talk of this film being connected to the new monster universe that Universal has been setting up, so how did you feel when you were told that the film would be woven into this universe?
I was just focused on Dracula Untold, its origins story of one guy, the legend aspect, who was this guy before he became Dracula, that was the only thing that I was focused on and was important to me. I brought in about three and a half years ago, and this wasn’t being moved as being a part of a universe, the universe came in in the last year or so, and they announced a couple of months ago, and that was being talked about behind the scenes. So we were already in production, but that was being discussed. It was something the studio was keen to weave into, but the way modern cinema is going, I think its being serialized, and the way TV has gone, but specifically in the last few years we’ve been getting these giant arcs, and seasonal arcs, over a number of seasons. People’s appetite to see these stories played out in long form, like Marvel and their universe. I think they will be in pre-production for the next 20 years. Honestly, they are giant architectural designs they have. I think every studio is looking at what their foundations are to create those same media brands and structures. Marvel has their own, Warner Bros. has DC, and Universal has this back catalog of monsters. How they go about and do it – the big challenge there is to create anti-heros or having all these anti-heroes work out in the same place, but for me I was focused on telling the story as best I can.
Where do you see the character go from here?
If the audience really enjoys the film, they want to be able to see, they will let the studio know. If I wanted to expand on something further, I mean there are 500 something odd years of history to tap into between 1460 and present day. On a character level, what we did we set up the bridging point of the historical Vlad and the Dracula we know from fiction. What I would like to explore is the Dracula from fiction. Then the time develing into those origins and dark psychology of the character being forever stuck inside – this creature inside lurking beneath the skin.
We want to thanks Universal for giving us the opportunity to interview Gary Shore. Dracula Untold opens in theaters tomorrow, October 10.