Dracula Prequel in the Works at Paramount With 'It' Helmer

The studio has nabbed the rights to 'Dracul', a prequel to the classic Dracula story, and attached 'It' director Andy Muschietti.

AceShowbiz - A Dracula prequel is in development at Paramount Pictures. Deadline is the first to report the news, stating that the studio has acquired the rights to the prequel called "Dracul", with "It" director Andy Muschietti set to helm. It will re-team the 44-year-old Argentine filmmaker with producers Barbara Muschietti and Roy Lee.

Paramount executive Vanessa Joyce brought in the project and will oversee the development with Miri Yoon of Vertigo Entertainment. The studio won an auction for the prequel. The auction was conducted by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company Inc., and attorney Wayne Alexander.

This is reportedly the first prequel authorized by the estate of "Dracula" author Bram Stoker. "Dracul" was written by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker. The tale is set in 1868, where "a 21-year-old Bram Stoker meets an ungodly evil that he traps in an ancient tower all the while scribbling the events that led him there."

"Dracula" was first published in 1897 and is considered a classic in the horror genre. The novel starts with attorney Jonathan Harker visiting Count Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains. He is trying to move from Transylvania to England aboard a Russian ship so that he may find new blood, but is opposed by a group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.

The story of the vampire has been recreated in countless films and television shows, including the 1931 Universal Pictures film starring Bela Lugosi as well as six other Universal films featuring Dracula or one of his relatives.

"Dracula" starring Christopher Lee was released from Hammer Films in 1958, while in 1992, "Bram Stoker's Dracula" was released starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Anthony Hopkins. The film showed how the historical Vlad Tepes met the love of his life, who was reincarnated as Ryder's character Mina Harper, and how he became a creature of the night.

In 2013, "Dracula: The Dark Prince" was released starring Luke Roberts and Jon Voight. In the following year, Universal Pictures released "Dracula Untold" starring Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon and Dominic Cooper.

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