EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is negotiating with Gary Shore to direct Dracula Year Zero. This is the film that was close to a production start with Sam Worthington starring and Alex Proyas directing, only to see Universal close the coffin because the budget was too high. Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless have written a new draft of the screenplay. Michael De Luca continues on the project as producer. Shore, who last helmed The Cup Of Tears, which is being turned into a feature produced by Working Title and Steve Golin. He is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content. The writers are repped by ICM and Echo Lake’s Sophy Holodnik.

Proyas left the project to direct Paradise Lost, which had its plug pulled by Legendary Pictures yesterday, again over high cost. At this point, Worthington is also not involved, per studio sources. He was to play Prince Vlad of Transylvania. He was also known as Vlad the Impaler and his lust for blood inspired the mythology behind Dracula. While Worthington might not be back, it sure looks like this movie is back on track.