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Look out Dracula, you're having moment in sun

Plenty of vampires haunt TV these days, but viewers will soon get two versions of the original Dracula.

NBC said Tuesday that it has ordered a 10-episode "Dracula" series, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the bloodsucker. That news follows Starz network's announcement earlier this month that it is developing "Vlad Dracula," a series that will trace the evolution of 15th century Prince of Wallachia from ruler to feared vampire.

No premiere dates were given for either project, but NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that "Dracula," from Carnival Films & Television (the producers of "Downton Abbey"), as well as the production company Flame Ventures and Playground, will begin filming this year.

Rhys Meyers, who appeared in Showtime's "The Tudors" as King Henry VIII, takes on the famous role that NBC is based on Bram Stoker's original "Dracula." But the production is tweaking the legend a bit. The Fanged One will pose as an American in Victorian London where he is seeking revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries before.

"His plans are disrupted when he falls in love with a woman who seems to be his reincarnated wife," the NBC release said.

With Rhys Meyers in the role of a lovestruck Dracula, expect some swoonworthy moments.

"We are delighted that Jonathan Rhys Meyers has chosen this project to return to television," Michael Edelstein, NBCUniversal International Television Production president, said in a statement. "This sexy, updated twist on the classic also promises not to disappoint."

"Dracula" is based on a script by co-executive producer Cole Haddon and will be executive-produced by former president of HBO Films Colin Callender for Playground, Tony Krantz for Flame Ventures, Gareth Neame for Carnival Films & Television, Anne Mensah for Sky, and Universal Television. Reece Pearson from Flame Ventures is also co-executive producer.

The Starz version will be set centuries before the NBC one, with Vlad Dracula first being introduced as Prince of Wallachia, Romania, in the 15th century. It will mix historical facts with fiction as Vlad struggles to hang on to his humanity, his wife and his kingdom after becoming a vampire a suffering a fall from grace.

"Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski and Roy Lee, producer of horror films "The Ring" and "The Strangers" among others, are developing the series with veteran "Spartacus" producer Rob Tapert.

According to the L.A. Times, two Dracula films are being developed. Director Eli Roth is working on "Harker," which focuses on the character Jonathan Harker, who in Stoker's book was the solicitor who traveled to Dracula's castle. Director Neil Marshall is working on his own spin for a film called "Last Voyage of the Demeter."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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