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Chloe Zhao is tackling 'Dracula', but with a sci-fi meets Western twist. Learn about the director and the exciting project from Universal.

‘Dracula’ the western? What to know your soon-to-be fave movie

Vampires & cowboys? It’s more likely than you think! Fresh off her nominations for Nomadland, director Chole Zhao’s next project sounds like everything we could ever want in life. Zhao will be directing a sci-fi, Western version of Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula. To which? We say, “Shut up and take my money!” Given the Dracula is a public domain character? This isn’t the first Dracula project announced or done.

Zhao’s sci-fi Western take? Awesome. Remember the amazingly absurd stupidity of the 2011 movie Cowboys vs Aliens? We’re hoping that the addition of vampires just gives us everything we need from the phrase “sci-fi, Western Dracula” in a movie. Zhao will be working on the movie at Universal, which seems to have abandoned the shared universe concept for their movie monsters.

Instead? It looks like they’ll maybe start exploring different genres to see how things work out. Remember the terrifying Elisabeth Moss-led The Invisible Man? The thriller aspect only added to things.

Who is Chloe Zhao?

Chloe Zhao is one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood right now. In addition to her indie Nomadland, Zhao is also the director of the upcoming Marvel movie, Eternals. Her previous credits include 2015’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me and 2017’s The Rider. She also has an upcoming movie about the life of Bass Reeves, the first black US Marshal in the works as well.

Zhao, basically, is sort of single-handedly reviving the Western genre for modern times. Adding in Eternals? It looks like her sci-fi Western Dracula will be a combination of the past work that she has done. So it’ll be interesting to see the marriage of things in the final outcome. In a statement about the upcoming film, Zhao said the following:

“I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and the concept of the Other they embody. I’m very excited to work with Donna [Langley], Peter [Cramer], and the team at Universal to reimagine such a beloved character.” 

Sounds like Universal is avoiding the franchise element

It’s a pretty smart move. Universal is taking the character long associated with their brand and going into new directions with them. The failure of Tom Cruise’s The Mummy is that a franchise like, say, the MCU, sort of started organically and then spun outward. This is where others like the DCEU failed and the Dark Universe imploded. So, you know, explore different options, get creative!

The other project in development is a Ryan Gosling-led version of Wolfman, which we are here. Channing Tatum is also re-teaming with Phil Lord & Chris Miller for a project that’s being described as a “modern day, tongue in cheek thriller.” It’s definitely making for some interesting movies coming out of Universal.

And the other Dracula movies?

Blumhouse, naturally, has a Dracula movie in the works, which is a modern-day retelling. Destroyer director Karyn Kusama heads that project. Meanwhile, André Øvreda (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) is directing Corey Hawkins in Last Voyage of the Demeter, which is about the ship that Dracula reads on his voyage to London in the original novel. 

Needless to say, it sounds like there are going to be a lot of Dracula movies heading our way in the near future. At the very least, they can’t be as bad as the BBC-Netflix co-production that started strong and then…got weird. But Steven Moffat was involved so what are you going to do about that? Nothing, you accept it and move on with your life. 

That version of Dracula came out in 2020, right? Wow. It feels so long ago.

Chloe Zhao’s sci-fi Western Dracula movie does not have a release date, but we’re buying a ticket when it comes out

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