Proyas Helming Dracula Year Zero

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Alex Proyas will direct Dracula Year Zero, Universal’s origins tale about Vlad the Impaler, reports Variety.

The film, being produced by Michael De Luca, is one of several in the works about the Romanian royal who inspired Bram Stoker’s vampire tale.

The trade says that Proyas (I, Robot) was attracted to the script by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, enthusing over their “fresh take on the legend.”

He said the project manages to play off the horror and the sympathy you have for a character that “sells his soul to the Devil to save his kingdom and family.”

The writers, who set up the project a year ago, said the goal was to show Vlad when he was still vital and to explore the fact that he’s considered a hero in Romania for fending off the Turks.

“Usually when you see him, he’s past his prime and 100 years old,” Sazama said.

“In our movie, he’s at the height of his powers,” Sharpless added.

Dueling Dracula projects set up around town include The Historian, a contemporary book about the search for Vlad the Impaler’s grave that Brad Caleb Kane is adapting for Sony’s Red Wagon, and Castlevania, an adaptation of the popular video game for which Rogue recently signed up director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard).