BBC promises sexy version of Dracula with added bite

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The Independent Online

The BBC is to shoot a big budget film version of Bram Stoker's classic horror Dracula later this month.

The adaptation is due to be screened this Christmas, with Marc Warren, the star of Hustle, taking the role of the vampire.

Dan Stephens, from the recent TV dramatisation Line of Beauty, takes the role of Holmwood and Sophia Myles, from Thunderbirds, plays his fiancée Lucy, while Tom Burke, from State of Play, is their friend Seward.

Myles is the latest is a line of glamorous women to have starred in Dracula. In the 1927 Broadway play, Helen Chandler and David Manners were lauded as the most appealing leading couple in horror history. In 1992, Winona Ryder starred in the dual roles of Dracula's reincarnated love interest Mina Harker and Dracula's past lover Princess Elisabeta.

The cast of the latest BBC adaptation also includes Rafe Spall (The Chatterley Affair) as the solicitor Jonathan Harker and Stephanie Leonidas (MirrorMask) as his girlfriend Mina. Completing the main company is David Suchet (Poirot) who plays the vampire scholar and Dracula's nemesis, Van Helsing.

Stewart Harcourt's script draws on elements of Stoker's own life and Victorian society to give this version of the classic a new and modern sensibility.

Julie Gardner, head of BBC Wales drama, said: "Stewart Harcourt's adaptation is a visceral, sexy and bold re-telling of Bram Stoker's classic chiller which will blow the cobwebs off traditional period drama. And we've brought together a cast of thrilling young talent to bring it to life."

The executive producer, Damien Timmer, said: "Stewart Harcourt's extraordinary script introduces some bold new elements and unexpected twists to the Dracula legend. It's hugely powerful and genuinely terrifying."

It is the second time the BBC has adaptedDracula. Its 1977 version starred Louis Jourdan and was directed by Philip Saville.

The character of Count Dracula has remained popular over the years, and many films have used the character as a villain, while others have referred to him in movie titles such as Daughter of Dracula, Lady Dracula, and Zoltan, Hound of Dracula. An estimated 160 films feature Dracula in a major role, a number second only to Sherlock Holmes. The 1931 film version of Dracula starred Bela Lugosi and was directed by Tod Browning. In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant".

During the era of the 1930s and 1940s, the Universal Studios horror films made Dracula a household name by starring him as a villain in a number of films, including several where he met other monsters.

In 1958, Hammer Films produced Dracula, starring Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. It is widely considered to be one of the best versions of the story to be adapted to film, and in 2004 was named by the magazine Total Film as the 30th greatest British film of all time.

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