There seems to be a shortage of vampires these days. First, Wes Bentley (”American Beauty”) bowed out of playing Lestat in ”Queen of the Damned,” Anne Rice’s follow-up to ”Interview With the Vampire,” which is reportedly set to begin filming in Australia this fall. While it looks like Josh Hartnett (”The Virgin Suicides”) might fill in, another vampire flick is short a bloodsucker — one that begins filming this month. Produced by horror guru Wes Craven and directed by his longtime editor Patrick Lussier (”Scream 3”), the rather unwieldily titled ”Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000” brings Bram Stoker’s neck biter to Rice’s turf, present-day New Orleans, surrounded by costars Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller, Jennifer Esposito, and singer Vitamin C (a.k.a. Colleen Fitzpatrick).
As for Mr. Long Tooth himself, ”we’re still scouring the earth,” says Lussier (well, L.A. and London, at least). ”There’s so much baggage that comes [with the part] — Dracula is [one of] the most filmed characters in cinematic history.” That said, we gotta ask, is there anything else to say on the subject? ”We have an origin for Dracula that was never resolved,” Lussier says proudly of the script, written by Joel Soisson (”Prophecy III”) and polished by Ehren Kruger (”Arlington Road”). ”It’s very scary.”
FURTHERMORE Adam Sandler has signed a deal (similar to Julia Roberts’) to star in and produce films for Joe Roth’s new Revolution Studios…. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer sat out the third (and tepid) ”Beverly Hills Cop” installment, but six years later he and Eddie Murphy are talking about reviving the franchise. ”We’re putting together a story right now,” Bruckheimer promises. ”We haven’t quite figured it out, but we’re getting close.”
(Additional reporting by William Keck)