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Luc Besson to Direct ‘Dracula,’ Caleb Landry Jones and Christoph Waltz Will Lead Retelling of Bram Stoker’s Gothic Classic


Having already directed plenty of action-thrillers, a few sci-fis and — last year — a whole load of mutts (the Venice-bowing “Dogman”), Luc Besson is now set to venture into epic fantasy territories with one of the most famous big screen characters of all.

The French director is to direct an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s’ “Dracula,” telling the story of 15th century Prince Vladimir who cursed God following the death of his beloved wife and is turned into a vampire. Later, in 19th century London, he discovers his wife’s doppelgänger and dooms himself by pursuing her.

Variety understands that Christoph Waltz is in talks to star, as is Caleb Landry-Jones, which would reunite Besson with his lead in “Dogman,” which bowed in Venice last year. Like “Dogman,” Besson’s EuropaCorp is producing.

Kinology is talking to buyers about the project at the European Film Market.

Billed as Besson’s big comeback film and Europacorp’s first major feature in several year, “Dogman” world premiered in competition at Venice and was released in France in September. Sold by Kinology, the revenge thriller starring Landry Jones was acquired by Briarcliff Entertainment for the U.S. and grossed a disappointing $3 million in France.  Although “Dogman” got a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, it got mixed reviews, with Variety calling it a “ludicrous howler” and an “irredeemably boneheaded thriller.”

EuropaCorp, the company Besson founded 25 years ago, was taken over by its junior lender Vine Alternative Investments in 2020, after being placed under a debt waiver by a French commercial court. Besson – who has been definitively cleared in France of all charges in the rape case involving the Belgian-Dutch female actor Sand Van Roy — no longer has an operational role in EuropaCorp, and serves as artistic director under five-year exclusive deal renewable for another two years.

Alongside “Dracula,” EuropaCorp now has several projects in the pipeline, including “Weekend Escape Project,” an action thriller set in Taiwan, starring British singer-actor Luke Evans (“Murder Mystery,” “Nine Perfect Strangers”) and Taiwanese female actor Gwei Lun-mei (“Black Coal”).