More than 100 years after Bram Stoker first published ‘Dracula,’ the vampire is poised to emerge from his coffin. Dacre Stoker, the author’s great-grandnephew, 51, has coauthored a sequel with screenwriter Ian Holt. Stoker, who says he’s close to signing a movie deal for ‘Dracula the Un-Dead,’ spoke with EW.
Why did you write a sequel?
We grew up thinking, Isn’t it too bad that the copyright was lost in the 1930s? Everybody else has been able to take what Bram created and go in a million different directions with it. And that’s good and bad. Ian came to me and said, ”Dacre, I’d love to do a book. I want a Stoker involved. Here’s your chance to regain the literary legacy of Bram Stoker.”
Did you feel a lot of pressure?
To do a sequel that we could claim has family support, we had to make this thing feel like something Bram would have [created]. How do we make it a proper homage but keep it realistic? Things like the travel times, street directions — all the things Bram did accurately in his novel — we needed to do too.
But Bram wrote in journal form, and your novel’s in third person.
We just said, ”We’re going to make it an exciting book because that’s what people want these days.” Kind of like a Dan Brown thriller, or Tom Clancy, or Clive Cussler. A real page-turner.
And you’ve made Bram a character.
He was a pretty interesting guy. Sickly until the age of 7, and call it a miracle, he gets healthy and becomes a champion athlete in college, then a civil servant. And then he fits in all of his writing career.
Your version of Dracula himself is a lot gentler than his.
We felt like we needed to create the situation where Dracula can sort of explain that evil is not just black-and-white. There are shades of good and bad. We gave him this softness, but also this ability to tell his side of the story.
Bram was subtle when writing about sex. The sex in your book is pretty overt.
In Victorian England at the time, you couldn’t mention breasts or genitals or anything like that. Mentioning a man putting his lips onto a neck and slowly inserting the teeth — that was about as graphic as you could get. We felt if we didn’t make it juicy, people would go, ”Oh, this is boring.”
Did you make a conscious decision to write this now to take advantage of the vampire craze?
Ian and I met about six years ago, but we had other things going on. When [the craze] was just beginning to pick up, we said, ”You know what? We better get this thing done.”