‘Dracula’ Offers Thematic Bite From Creator Cole Haddon

Dracula (NBC, CR: Jonathon Hession)Premiering Friday (NBC, 10 pm et/pt), Dracula features Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the iconic, immortal bloodsucker. Under this iteration, he takes on the guise of an American entrepreneur looking to expand his business in Victorian era London. Our antihero, however, actually has a more vengeful task in mind with his plan to destroy a corrupt group named the Order of the Dragon.

Fans expecting a bit of heated romance will get their fix in the form of Lady Jane (Victoria Smurfit), whose dalliance with Dracula has its share of complications. Former Arrow actress Jessica De Gouw is Mina Murray, a woman who may be a reincarnation of Dracula’s one true love.

The series’ most intriguing elements don’t center on Dracula’s thirst for love and lust, but rather his impulsive desire for retribution. His uneasy alliance with Abraham Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann) and bond with loyal friend R.M. Renfield (a commanding Nonso Anozie) give Dracula a much deeper dimension, and much of the narrative’s thematic shadings can be credited to series creator Cole Haddon.

“Once I figured out the origin of the character,” said Haddon whose lifelong love for comic books led to penning the graphic novels The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde and Space Gladiators. “This idea that he was born out of this fundamentalist organization – it created all this conflict that really gave me the theme and got me passionate. And then from there, I love history. So (it was) finding some way to integrate that into the history we know and creating ironic details. If you interpolate that the outcome of this world, you know that the Order of the Dragon and the quest for fossil fuels succeeded. So you know the hero has failed to save the 20th century. (But) both organizations are villains in some way, and that was very fun to play with.”

A former entertainment journalist, Haddon is also an avid cinefile, a love which will hopefully shine through in his next project Dodge & Twist, a reimagining of Oliver Twist that is currently being developed by Sony.

But first things first – Dracula’s pilot offers enough subplots to keep this TV addict tuned in to the next episode, and hopefully that momentum carries throughout the rest of its season. During our interview with Haddon, the writer joked about how a bit of “ignorance” helped him expand his boundaries to create a three dimensional teleplay.

Click on the media bar to hear Cole Haddon, who is also an executive producer on the show, talk about the genesis of penning Dracula (he references the Mario Bava film Black Sunday in the clip):

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‘Ender’s’ Harrison Ford Remembers his Beginnings

120In Ender’s Game (in theaters November 1), Harrison Ford stars as Colonel Graff, a military leader who recruits young Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) to the Battle School, a massive space station where the youth of the future train to make war on an alien race that once nearly wiped out humanity. At Battle School, Ender must grow up quickly to realize his full potential.

But, compared to Ender, Ford was something of a late bloomer. The cinematic superstar landed bit parts in movies as early as age 24, but it wasn’t until he was 31, when his side job as a carpenter gained him the notice of filmmaker George Lucas, that Ford landed a supporting role in the director’s 1960s nostalgia pic, American Graffiti.

The part may have been small, but it spring-boarded Ford into the roles that would come to define his career, teaming again with Lucas on Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

40 years after Graffiti’s release, Ford reflected on his own coming of age experience and the lessons he learned on the set which still persist to this day. (Click on the media bar below to hear Harrison Ford)

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Clark Gregg Marvels at His ‘Shield’ Character’s Growth

133582_7470Clark Gregg’s fan favorite character, Special Agent Phil Coulson, has come a long way from his bit part in 2008’s then-unexpected blockbuster, Iron Man. With ever-expanding roles in Iron Man 2 and Thor, and culminating in an important (some would almost say… terminal) supporting turn in 2012’s The Avengers, it seemed the natural choice to tap Gregg, who has a background in TV work (with recurring roles on The West Wing and Will & Grace), to headline the studio’s first attempt at prime time drama: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.

Through it all, Gregg has maintained a deep affection for a character who reveals new facets of himself with every script. “I am constantly learning more and more about the guy,” says Gregg, whose involvement in future Marvel films is yet to be determined — though, having his own TV show is probably a fair consolation prize. Speaking on Coulson’s constantly evolving character, Gregg cleverly compares him to a party game, “where the next person who gets a hold of him gets to write another sentence.”

(Click on the media bar below to hear more of Gregg’s thoughts on what it means to be an agent of SHIELD and what he loves about how Phil handles that role.)

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesday nights on ABC.

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NBC Pulls The Plug On Two Newbies: ‘Ironside’ And ‘Welcome To The Family’ Bite The Dust

118Wasting little time and showing even less mercy, NBC has announced the cancellation of two new freshman shows, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY and IRONSIDE. A not-so-traditional family sitcom dealing with inter-racial marriage and teen pregnancy, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY starred MARY McCORMACK and aired on Thursday nights. A mixture of recycled and original material will take its place until the 1/2 return of COMMUNITY.

A re-working of the popular ’60s crime drama that starred RAYMOND BURR, IRONSIDE featured BLAIR UNDERWOOD in the newly imagined titular role and hopes were high that it would click with audiences. Filling the Wednesday night void its departure will leave will be episodes of DATELINE and several specials.   Just before the series premiered we spoke with UNDERWOOD, who talked about his feelings for the iconic character.

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‘The Family’ with Robert De Niro Heads to Blu-Ray & DVD in December

The Family (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Family, a mob comedy headlined by Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, hits Blu-ray and DVD December 17.

Directed by Luc Besson (The Professional, La Femme Nikita), the project centers on a former crime boss (De Niro) who moves his family to France under the witness protection program. Pfeiffer stars as the matriarch of the family, which also features former Glee actress Dianna Agron as their daughter Belle. John D’Leo also co-stars as the family’s son Warren, with Lee Jones playing the agent tasked with protecting the clan.

The picture, which took in $36 million this year at the box office, is executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

Special features on the Blu-ray include:

* The featurettes “Making The Family” and “The Many Meanings of FU*%!”

* Sneak Peeks

* Theatrical trailer.

Click on the media bar below to hear Michelle Pfeiffer talk about the similarities between The Family and her previous film Married to the Mob:

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