We may be just a couple months away from Chloé Zhao being anointed as an Academy Award winning director, but she’s wasting no time setting up her next project. Zhao, with her production company Highwayman, has teamed up with Universal Pictures to write, direct, and produce a new take on the iconic Dracula.
While details are scarce for now, The Hollywood Reporter says that Zhao’s version of the tale is being described as “an original, futuristic, sci-fi Western”
Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer had this to say: “Chloé’s singular lens shines a light on stories of the overlooked and misunderstood. We are thrilled to be working with her as she reimagines one of the most iconic outsider characters ever created.”
Whatever this Dracula ends up looking like, it’s safe to say it won’t be like any of the various takes on the figure that we’ve seen in cinema to date. This new approach for the classic Universal characters is representative of the sharp shift that the studio has taken with their properties in recent years. After the catastrophic disaster that was the Tom Cruise starring The Mummy in 2017 put an immediate halt to their planned Dark Universe, they regrouped and came back with last year’s The Invisible Man, a smaller, subversive take on the character from writer/director Leigh Whannell.
That film was a smash hit, so it’s no surprise that Universal is once again trying to forge new territory with an old IP like this. Zhao clearly feels that this character is fitting with the ideas that she has explored throughout her career, saying, “I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and the concept of the Other they embody. I’m very excited to work with Donna, Peter and the team at Universal to reimagine such a beloved character.”
Whatever happens at the Oscars in a couple months, Zhao’s star has already risen massively this year with the mammoth success of her awards frontrunner Nomadland. We won’t have to wait until Dracula to see what she can do with a major studio property either, as her Marvel Cinematic Universe film The Eternals is already in post-production, and set for a November 5th, 2021 release date. It truly seems like the sky is currently the limit for Zhao.