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Eternals director Chloe Zhao making a sci-fi Western Dracula film for Universal

By Matthew Jackson
Chloe Zhao and Kevin Feige

Fresh off the triumph of her Golden Globe-nominated drama Nomadland and ahead of her MCU debut with Eternals, director Chloe Zhao has lined up her next project. The rising star filmmaker, who just became the first Asian woman to received a Golden Globe nomination for directing, will helm a futuristic new take on Dracula for Universal Pictures, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Zhao is set to write, direct, and produce the new project, which is described as "futuristic, sci-fi Western" that will explore characters "on society's fringes," something Zhao's recent work has proved she's well-suited for.

"I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and the concept of the Other they embody," Zhao said in a statement. 

The project is the latest in a growing line of films that seek to reinvent Universal's classic monsters for a new generation. After the triumph of Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man early last year, we're expecting to see everything from Paul Feig's Dark Army to Elizabeth Banks' The Invisible Woman to a new monster film from horror heavyweight James Wan. Even Bride of Frankenstein, a holdover from the failed Dark Universe development days, is getting a new lease on life thanks to the continued efforts of screenwriter David Koepp. Now, we can add Zhao's Dracula to that mix. 

Interestingly, Zhao's new take on the legendary vampire is actually the second major Dracula project in development at the moment. Over at Blumhouse, The Invitation director Karyn Kusama is setting up her own modern-day take on the Count, and since Blumhouse has a first-look deal at Universal that film always seemed destined to wind up there. For the moment it's unclear which film will arrive first (though Kusama presumably has a bit of a head start) or if Blumhouse will move Kusama's film elsewhere, but the projects remain entirely separate takes on the same legendary character. 

Zhao's Dracula project comes in the middle of an extremely busy time for the sought-after director. Nomadland was one of the most acclaimed films of 2020 and, following four Golden Globe nominations, seems destined to be a featured player at the Oscars later this year. On top of that, Zhao is also finishing up post-production on Marvel's Eternals, her first superhero film, which is set to hit theaters November 5. Indie dramas, superhero epics, and futuristic vampire flicks — she really can do it all.