While Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s new Dracula TV series won’t be bringing the iconic vampire to the present day (as the duo did with a certain Baker Street sleuth for Sherlock), the pair have revealed they are making one big change to previous adaptations of Bram Stoker’s original novel.
Speaking exclusively at the Radio Times Covers Party, the pair revealed that their big pitch to the BBC and Netflix has been to finally make Dracula “the hero of his own story” – the central focus of the narrative rather than a shadowy villain for more traditional heroes to overcome.
“There’s lots of things that are challenging about Dracula,” Moffat said.
“Having an evil lead character is actually really difficult. That’s been the main challenge I think. But how we’ve handled, that you’ll have to wait and see.”
“It’s been very exciting though,” Gatiss added.
“Because we sort of made a promise to ourselves and the people who are making it, paying for it, that we’d make Dracula the hero of his own story, and less of a shadowy presence.
“And that’s a really clever idea, but we had to make good on it!”
In Bram Stoker’s original epistolary novel of 1897, Dracula is only ever seen through the eyes of humans trying to escape him or bring him to heel, with the Count representing a malevolent threat to humanity without any real sense of his inner life or perspective.
According to Moffat and Gatiss, their new Dracula – played by Danish actor Claes Bang – will bring that interiority on screen. Though, as noted above, it’s not been quite as easy as they anticipated when they first pitched the reinterpretation…
“We quickly found out why he’s often kept a shadowy presence!” joked Moffat.
“So it’s hard work, but I think it’s worked. It’s worked well I think, so far.”