This bit of news regarding the Summit Entertainment film Vlad we reported on earlier this week is actually incredibly refreshing to hear. The little bit of detail that we had to go off of until today is that the film will center on Dracula as a young prince; he is known to history as Vlad the Impaler, the man behind the Dracula myth. What we learned today, thanks to Hollywood Insider, is that the film will focus on the 15th century man Vlad the Impaler and not Vlad the vampire.
The script was written by Charlie Hunnam who stars in the TV series Sons of Anarchy, and it will be produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B production company. The fact that there are no vampires is the story was a non-negotiable point for Hunnam, who became fascinated with Vlad, a national hero of Romania, when he spent five months traveling the country during downtime filming 2003’s Cold Mountain. The movie will be helmed by music video director Anthony Mandler.
Here is what Hunnam had to say regarding the film:
My hope when writing it was for the end result to be more Braveheart than 300, and I think that as it’s evolved, we’ve got a pretty good mixture of both. I labor a little bit more over the history than 300 did. I was really interested in the reality of how this man turned into the myth, and because of some of his behaviors, it’s actually very easy to weave that mythology in, in a true way. As a writer, you have your idea of what it’s going to be, and now I have to release it. It’s Mandler’s film. But I have a lot of faith in him, and I like him tremendously as a human being, so I feel in safe hands turning my baby over to him.
He goes on to talk about the Plot of the story which sounds great!
It’s a very big and sweeping story. The majority of time focuses on him as a young man assuming his rule as a prince, but we actually go all the way through his life. Basically what happened was, the Ottoman Empire was expanding at an exponentially fast rate with a father-son duo of sultans, who increased the size of their territory tenfold within 50 years. They got over the Danube into Wallachia, which is the southern part of modern-day Romania. Romania used to be three separate principalities: Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. So the Ottoman came. They conquered Vlad’s father, also named Vlad Dracul — Vlad the Dragon. In Eastern Orthodox Catholicism, because of the iconography of George slaying the dragon, the dragon and the devil was one in the same. If you add an ‘a’, it denotes “son of,” so Dracula literally translates to “son of the devil.” So right away, from the moment he was born, before he did anything heinous of his own volition, he had a pretty bad rap because of his name. So the Ottoman said to Vlad’s father, “You can stay in power, rule your country as you wish, allow Catholicism to flourish, but you have to allow my people who will come to live here now equal rights to their faith, Islam.” There were all of these terms, but overall it was a pretty generous deal until the final moment: The Sultan wanted Vlad’s two youngest children. He intended to raise the children himself, make them devout Muslims, then put them back on the throne at a later date with the proper bloodline and yet loyalty to the Ottoman. So Vlad and his brother Radu went. Vlad was about 12, and already had a pretty elevated sense of who he was, but Radu was only seven and much, much more malleable. So they ended up, in Vlad’s mind, corrupting his brother and converting his brother to Islam. Radu was treated like a prince by the Ottomans, and Vlad was trapped like a slave, like a prisoner. About eight years after they got taken by the Ottoman, his father was murdered, and Vlad decided he was going to escape, avenge his father’s murder, take his throne back and oppose the Ottoman. So he escaped from court, went to his brother, and his brother refused to come with him. It started a 17-year war between the brothers, Christian vs. Muslim.
I have to say I love where his head is at on this film. I love what I'm hearing and I hope to hell it gets the budget it needs to be fully relealized. I myself, being a history buff have always been interested in the story of Vlad, and now it looks like we are going to get a great movie that tells his story.
Make sure to go read the rest of the interview, it is full of fun little tid bits like who he would want to cast as Vlad in the film if not himself.
So what do you think of this new Vlad movie now that you know it will be based on more historical fact than vampire fiction?