EXCLUSIVE: Eli Roth is hot again. I’ve just learned that the creator of the Hostel franchise, director, producer, and occasional actor (Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds) is in talks to go back behind the camera for a Warner Bros project in development to star Russell Crowe. That’s right, Crowe is now attached. But not to play the role of Harker in the spec script by Lee Shipman & Brian McGreevy that’s a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Instead, I’ve learned that Crowe is attached to play Dracula who is tracked by Jonathan Harker, a Scotland Yard detective. Hmm, Crowe as Dracula: cool, huh? Crowe is only on board for the first film, but the script sets up the sleuth as a potential new franchise character. Harker is as yet uncast — and boy, is that a juicy role for a leading man. “Once they figure out the story then they’ll figure out who’s right to play him,” a source says. Crowe and Roth worked together on the upcoming RZA-directed actioner, The Man With The Iron Fists, which stars Crowe in Roth’s script. Roth also produced the Universal film with Quentin Tarantino and others.
When Warner Bros acquired Harker in February 2011, the director attached was Unknown‘s Jaume Collet-Serra. But the studio asked Collet-Serra to oversee Akira until the film based on the anime classic was shelved for cost reasons. Now Collet-Serra is one busy Spaniard and among other projects helming another Joel Silver film with Liam Neeson, Nonstop. But the studio wants to fast-track Harker and has just gone to Roth. Crowe had been in talks since early this year but wasn’t going to be available for some time because of Les Miserables and other films. The hope is to get Harker underway next year.
Harker will be produced by Appian Way (which produced Collet-Serra’s last directorial outing Orphan with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle) and its partners Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran. Making this even cozier, Shipman and McGreevy wrote and are executive producing the Netflix TV project Hemlock Grove which Eli Roth is directing and exec-producing.