Controversial ’90s Director Adapting The Most Classic Horror Novel Ever

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Updated

  • The director of The Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional is making a movie about the most famous monster.
  • French director Luc Besson is adapting Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
  • Christoph Waltz and Caleb Landry Jones are likely to lead the film.
  • Luc Besson was accused of rape and sexual assault in 2018.

Listen up, classic horror fans: Luc Besson is adapting the most classic and iconic horror novel of all time–Dracula. Reportedly, Christoph Waltz and Caleb Landry Jones are currently in discussions to lead the cast. The controversial French director, dogged by prior accusations of sexual assault, financial difficulties, and poor reviews for some of his films, is nonetheless renowned for his eclectic filmography, featuring films like Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. 

Horror fans, despite his controversy, will likely look forward to his take on the iconic work of gothic horror.

Luc Besson’s Dracula

The project, like the original novel, will concern the classic tale of Prince Vladimir, the 15th-century nobleman who renounces religion and transforms into a vampire following the loss of his beloved wife. After a few centuries of suckin’ blood, Luc Besson’s Dracula then heads to 19th-century London, encountering a woman who bears a striking resemblance to his deceased wife.The rendezvous, as can be expected, leads to equal parts obsession and doom. 

Christoph Waltz Eyed For The Lead

Audiences adore Christoph Waltz for his captivating and singular performances—particularly his work with Quintin Tarantino. Jones, for his part, is an indie darling amd previous collaborator with Besson on Dogman. Both actors are expected to contribute a fresh dynamic to the iconic story. 

EuropaCorp, Luc Besson’s production company, will handle production of Dracula. The firm recently underwent a significant transition upon its takeover by Vine Alternative Investments in 2020, a seizure itself precipitated by a debt waiver in a French commercial court. In light of financial woes, Besson stepped down from his operational role in the company; he continues to exert influence as artistic director of the studio, however. 

Luc Besson’s Comeback Film

Many are touting Luc Besson’s Dracula as a significant comeback film, one marking EuropaCorp’s first major project in years. Of course, the anticipation surrounding Luc Besson’s Dracula is due to more than its revival as a horror classic. The most pressing question, for many, is whether the movie will redeem the Lucy director’s recent cinematic efforts—and his reputation. 

The director has labored under the shadow of several serious allegations, including allegations of rape and sexual assault. In one high-profile 2018 case, Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy accused Besson of rape, a charge French courts later cleared the director of. Nonetheless, the accusation garnered substantial press coverage and notoriety. 

Besson’s Recent Releases Have Missed Their Mark

Additionally, Luc Besson’s films—well before his attachment to Dracula—engendered sizable polarization, dividing audiences and critics. Dogman, for instance, was described by Variety as a “ludicrous howler” and panned mercilessly. However, in all fairness, the film earned a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. The director’s content and style, whether the excessive violence in Léon or the radical aesthetic of The Fifth Element, have also invited controversy. 

However, the director’s penchant for bold creative decisions should bode well for a narrative so well-known and overly-adapted. Luc Besson’s quirky, stylistic, individualistic, and engaging sensibility may well popularize Dracula for a new generation of audiences. The director’s project should be in good hands, especially with the support of an acting talent like Waltz. 


The Next Dracula

the consultant premiere

Who, after all, does not relish imagining Waltz as Dracula?In addition to the gothic horror masterpiece, EuropaCorp is producing several upcoming projects, including Weekend Escape Project, an action thriller set in Taiwan featuring British singer-actor Luke Evans. Hopefully, Luc Besson will be able to sidestep the controversy and, alongside Waltz and Jones, craft a film worthy of its classic source material. Source: Variety