Vlad the Imapler gets film
Brad Pitt has picked up a script from Charlie Hunnam, the star of the excellent television series Sons of Anarchy, which is set to tell the real tale of the man behind the legend of Dracula, Vlad the Impaler.
The film will feature no vampires, this will be the real story of Vlad Dracula, otherwise known as Vlad the Soon of the Devil, and through time also to be known as Vlad the Impaler, all based on the extensive research that Hunnam has carried out.
Apparently the music video director Anthony Mandler is currently being talked with with regards directing the film, and the project seems to be moving ahead at quite a pace. Apparently the executives saw his showreel of work on music videos and were more than surprised. It looks like he might be the next hottest director in Hollywood.
"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 describes the story in epic terms calling it "very big and sweeping", yes that sounds epic to me.
"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...
...The thing about Vlad is, he wasn't a conventional ruler. When he took his throne back after his father had been murdered, he did that using a contingent of gypsies, murderers, and thieves that he found in the forest; he didn't hire mercenaries. He had a real affinity for the darker side of society. I think he felt like he was an outcast, too, in a lot of ways."
It sounds like a great story, it really does, and the whole mythology of Vlad the Impaler is a superb one that captures the imagination, except the real story is even better.
He does point out that this only is the first act, taking us up to the point where the two sides do battle and both ruler's armies meet some five times in battle. This really is shaping up to be an epic.
Talking about who he would like to play the character of Vlad he jokes a little about himself, but to be honest he sounds like he would rather play the role of the brother than anything else. He did have someone in mind when he was writing the script though, other than Christian Bale.
"There's something very roguish and bad boy about Vlad, and I know Colin [Farrell] a little bit, and I think he has some of the characteristics that would be essential for playing this guy. I love Ryan Gosling, I think he's just incredible, but I never really thought he would be 100 percent right."
Well it's an interesting choice indeed, but I think Colin Farrell could carry off the role, especially if you've seen Alexander (Filmstalker review). Mind you casting is a long way off, as is the final script, and anything could happen.