EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to Dracul, the first prequel authorized by the estate of Bram Stoker. The film will be developed as potential directing vehicle down the line for Andy Muschietti, reteamed with It producers Barbara Muschietti and Roy Lee.

Written by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker, the tale is set in 1868, where a 21-year old Bram Stoker meets with an ungodly evil that he traps in an ancient tower all the while scribbling the events that led him there. The monster origin tale just went to Putnam’s Mark Tavani in a five-house auction brokered by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency. The UK rights for Dracul were bought by Simon Taylor of Transworld and by Michel Lafon for France in a pre-empt.

The film deal was brokered by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company Inc. and attorney Wayne Alexander. Paramount executive Vanessa Joyce brought in the project and will oversee the development with Miri Yoon of Vertigo Entertainment.