Shropshire to set the scene for brand new Dracula movie
One of the world's most famous horror stories will be given a modern angle when filmmakers come to Shropshire this summer.
Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula will be brought right up into the 21st century for a new film, which will use a number of locations around the county.
The producers of Dracula 2015 – Killer on the Catwalk, had planned to make their movie in Hungary, but later changed their minds and decided to shoot it in Bridgnorth, Morville, Ludlow, Arley and Much Wenlock, with key locations including Ludlow Castle and Aldenham Park, in Morville.
John Peters, who is promoting the film, said the opening scene would be filmed at the Severn Valley Railway's Arley Station.
"The film was originally going to be filmed on location in Budapest but for logistical and production reasons we relocated to Shropshire," he said.
- Ludlow Castle featured in Howards End, starring Emma Thompson and Sir Anthony Hopkins in 1992. The film also used Brampton Bryan, near Ludlow, as a location.
- Clockwise, the 1986 comedy of errors about the consequences of being late, starred John Cleese and featured Shrewsbury and Much Wenlock.
- The 2007 film adaptation of Ian McEwans Atonement, starring Hollywood stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, was filmed at Stokesay Court, in south Shropshire.
- Richard Burton filmed Absolution in 1978 at Ellesmere College, although the film wasnt regarded as one of his best.
- David Niven and a young Jodie Foster starred in the 1977 Disney family movie Candleshoe, which used the Severn Valley Railway as a location for filming.
- George C. Scott, Edward Woodward and David Warner filmed A Christmas Carol in Shrewsbury in 1984, a production that used much of the town centre.
- Hugh Grant used locations near Oswestry for The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain in 1994.[/breakout]
"We could have filmed in London but we wanted to do it somewhere else, so we changed the setting completely. We are currently talking to the SVR about our plans for the dramatic opening scene, which takes place on a railway platform. We hope to start filming at the station in May."The film,which has a budget of 500,000 US dollars (£330,000), will be distributed through Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo and Google Play.
It is described as a horror thriller, with hints of black comedy, and shows the dark side of the fashion industry, nightlife and a world where fame destroys those who make an idol of it.
Although the cast, including Ayvianna Snow and Adam Isdale, are not yet household names, the role of Dracula is being played by European model James Tratas, who is becoming a big name in film and theatre in his native Czech Republic.
He is delighted by his forthcoming film, telling his internet followers that Shropshire is "one of the most stunning locations in the United Kingdom".
Other members of the production include BAFTA award-winning director of photography, Alan McLaughlin, and film editor Richard Cox, who has also won BAFTAs for his work.
Mr Peters said the crew had plans to take full advantage of what Shropshire has to offer.
"Aldenham Park is a privately owned residence, ideally located between Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock. Aldenham will be a location where a lot of the action takes place. We'll also be filming in Bridgnorth along the Castle Walk and possibly shooting in parts of Telford.
"We're also looking for other locations and properties, which could be used by members of the cast while we're filming in Shropshire.
"We want to use a warehouse on an industrial estate in the Bridgnorth for a big nightclub scene and we'll also be setting up huge marquee in the grounds of Aldenham Park to film a fashion show scene."
Mr Peters said the new take on Dracula had never been done before but warned the modern day approach "might offend" some of the purists.
"The scenes are very dapper and would be "stylish, with a lot of focus on fashion and design." he said.
"The story follows Damien Racula, a vampire obsessed and egomaniac fashion designer, his ambitious publicist Sophie, vampire hunters Professor Kovacs and his feisty granddaughter, Julia, a try-hard DJ named DJ Van Helsing and a wacky nightclub promotions girl called Rebel.
"They are all quite central characters and of course you have Dracula himself, who is played by supermodel, James Tratas.
He added: "We're actually still looking for the ideal location for Dracula's house, which would ideally be somewhere in Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock or even as far as Shrewsbury.
"We're hoping to use something stylish and contemporary, perhaps a modern barn conversion or something like that."
The film will use more than 100 extras for the nightclub and fashion show scenes, as well as extras for the opening scene on the Severn Valley Railway.
"We want local people to get in touch with us about being extras in the film and we'll be taking on a substantial amount of people," said Mr Peters."We also want to hire local caters for while we're filming for the 50 to 60 crew and cast members.
"Our aim is promote the Shropshire area while we're filming to bring it to a global audience. The film will be shown in America, Japan and all over the world.
"It's an internet film that will be released through eight different platforms, which is the way the film industry is going.
"People will continue to watch the big blockbusters at the cinema but most other films will be streamed on to computers, laptops and mobile phones in the future.
"This is the future of film making because it means as soon as it's released, it goes global."
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