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Cast This: Dracula

It's somewhat fortuitous that the final Cast This column of October lands right on Halloween, so we'll be taking a look at one of cinema's most terrifying yet alluring villains, Count Dracula. Although vampire folklore has been part of our culture for centuries, it was Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic novel which has proven to be the biggest influence on the vampire genre.

Bram Stoker's novel has been adapted countless times over the decades and the next Dracula project on the horizon is a BBC series from Sherlock creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Much like Sherlock, the Dracula series will consist of three 90-minute episodes which will re-introduce the world to Dracula, the vampire who "made evil sexy." Taking place in Transylvania in 1897, the series will find "the blood drinking Count is drawing his plans against Victorian London. And be warned: the dead travel fast." As expected, the upcoming series will premiere on BBC One in the U.K., but will also be available on Netflix everywhere outside of the U.K. In a statement, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss said, "There have always been stories about great evil. What’s special about Dracula, is that Bram Stoker gave evil its own hero." Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, added:

Steven and Mark’s ingenious vision for Dracula is as clever as it is chilling. In their talented hands the fans will experience the power of Bram Stoker’s creation as if completely anew. We are thrilled to be collaborating with them and the brilliant team at Hartswood on yet another iconic British series.

Centuries old, Count Dracula is a fearsomely intelligent Transylvanian nobleman whose vampirism gives him a variety of superhuman powers, including strength, agility, hypnotism, and the ability to shape-shift. However, Dracula is not without weaknesses as sunlight can strip away many of his powers. Religious symbolism, such as crucifixes and other sacred objects, can also adversely affect the Count, as can garlic, but his main weakness is the thirst, the desire for fresh human blood. Although the blood allows him to rejuvenate, he also can't survive without it, and Dracula's bloodlust is something which even he can't control.

Over the decades, there have been an enormous number of Dracula adaptations on stage, screen, and television, with just as many actors stepping into the role, including Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, John Carradine, Frank Langella, Udo Kier, Jack Palance, Gary Oldman, Gerard Butler, Richard Roxburgh, Luke Evans, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and many more. That's not to say that anyone can play Dracula however, as I believe that the role requires a certain ageless quality, along with a physicality which is both beautiful and grotesque. Dracula will likely continue to appear in entertainment until long after we've turned to dust, but in the meantime, who has the otherworldly quality to step into Dracula's cape right now? I'll toss out a few suggestions to get you started. Mads Mikkelsen has already portrayed a bloodthirsty villain in Hannibal, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch for the actor to play the immortal Count. Adam Driver (STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI) would be another interesting choice, perhaps lending a sense of melancholy to the character. Dracula has traditionally been played by a male actor, but Tilda Swinton (SUSPIRIA) has that androgynous quality which could be used to great effect. Plus, she's already played a vampire in Jim Jarmusch's ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

Remember, you're free to suggest anyone in the comments, so let your inner casting director run wild!

Previously on Cast This, you were asked to fill the role of Darkseid, the all-powerful Lord of Apokolips. As the role of the DC villain will likely be done through voice-over/motion-capture, similar to Thanos, the actor's voice will be the most important factor. There were plenty of amazing choices for the role, but before I get into them, I'll single out Christopher Graham's suggestion. "To me Darkseid sounds like two granite mountains slamming into one another. If Orson Welles was still alive....." That would have been perfect. As far as actors who are still with us, the favourites included Frank Langella (The Americans), Ian McShane (JOHN WICK), and Michael Ironside (STARSHIP TROOPERS).

Source: JoBlo.com

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