Richard John Taylor is probably one of the busiest filmmakers working in the business today. Not only has he just finished post-production on the brutal British action thriller Vengeance, but he’s also currently working on a multitude of upcoming projects, which are bound to interest our readers. In particular, he’s developing a modern day retelling of Dracula, which will be filmed in Italy, and a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, which he plans to shoot in France and the UK.
Despite his busy schedule, Taylor managed to find the time to grant this exclusive interview to Dread Central about these intriguing projects. He certainly dropped some interesting details about what we can expect when they arrive on our screens, in addition to discussing how he manages to balance working on so many films at once. On the other hand, he also provided us with an exclusive trailer for Vengeance and two stills from the film, which we are happy to share below along with an official press release.
So if you’re already a fan of Taylor’s work or if you just happen to be intrigued by the description of his upcoming productions, we suggest you read on to find out what he has in store. You won’t be disappointed.
Dread Central: What made you want to adapt these classic stories into a modern day setting?
Richard John Taylor: They’re timeless classics. Dracula has been done so many times and with the exception of the obvious few, it’s for the most part been done lazily and it’s been done badly.
I was brainstorming ideas one day and had been having discussions with an actress about another project and the two ideas just merged and this incredibly unique take on the story unfolded from there that felt like it really had legs… or wings. Phantom is one of my favourites and trying to work out how to do that well, but differently has always been at the back of my mind. And like Dracula, it came out of talking to the right actors while talking about other projects and the faces and ideas finally seemed to fit. It’s like that feeling when you find a missing piece of a jigsaw.
DC: What can fans expect from these new adaptations?
RJT: I’d describe Dracula as a slick, beautiful bloodfest, while ‘The Disappearance of Little Lottie’ is a haunting, gothic horror that gets under your skin and stays with you after.
DC: Can you talk about why you choose the particular filming locations?
RJT: For ‘The Disappearance of Little Lottie’, I was staying with friends in Cumbria last year while I finished another project and that’s where the idea began to become more fully formed and so I began writing it around locations and places I knew. It was summer at the time, as hot as Spain, nothing but blue skies and lush green fields, so when I went back for a couple of weeks in winter when it’s much more creepy, very theatrical. And of course I don’t think you can tell the story without Paris, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
For ‘Dracula’, the plan is to film alongside another project that I can’t talk about yet, and utilise the locations in Italy for both. There’s so much history there that lends itself to the stories.
DC: How will you be utilising your unique style of directing when working on these projects?
RJT: Visually they’re very different. I can’t say much about the way ‘The Disappearance of Little Lottie’ will be shot, because that’s part of what makes my take on it so clever and I don’t want to spoil that. ‘Dracula’ will have touches of ‘Muse’, which won an award for its cinematography, but with far more bite!
DC: How do you balance working on so many projects?
RJT: You don’t. You concentrate on doing one or two really well. There are always half a dozen ideas in development, but you have to compartmentalise. Idea’s come to me all the time, but you have to just jot them down and then come back to it when you have the time. Right now, I’m in the process of sound mixing on ‘Vengeance’ and finishing my children’s book. Delivery dates for both are the same, so after that I’ll move on to the final read of my memoir of Leslie and write the first pass at a screenplay. Both delivery dates are the same for those two, so once those are done, pre-production on ‘The Krays: New Blood’ and ‘The Huntress of Auschwitz’, and so forth.
Official press release
The classic gothic horror novels ‘Dracula’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ are to receive female-led modern day retellings from Hello Princess, the independent production company founded by late actor Leslie Grantham and filmmaker Richard John Taylor. The films have been described as “a bloodfest” by Taylor, who will write and direct both features.
‘Dracula’ will shoot alongside another of the company’s slate next summer on location in Italy’s Florence and Umbria, while the adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s ‘Phantom’, under the working title of ‘The Disappearance of Little Lottie’ will shoot in early 2021, following location scouting earlier this year in Paris and Cumbria.
Cumbria will also be the backdrop for the company’s next feature following the lifting of COVID restrictions, ‘The Huntress of Auschwitz’, which reunites Taylor with Jeffrey Charles Richards, who starred in his award-winning film ‘Muse’ last year. Richards will star as Rudolf Tannhäuser, a Nazi guard in hiding, hunted down by the granddaughter of two people he murdered in the notorious concentration camp.
It’s been a successful year for the production company despite the limitations of coronavirus; Taylor has completed work his memoir of Grantham, titled ‘Where I’m Going, You Can’t Follow’ which will be released on November 16th, followed by his first children’s book ‘The Loneliest Cow’, available on December 2nd. He’s also due to film gangland epic ‘The Krays: New Blood’, the sequel to his bestselling ‘The Krays: Dead Man Walking’ starring Nicholas Ball, Nathanjohn Carter and Nina Cranstoun early next year, following delays due to the pandemic and his commitments to post-production on ‘Vengeance’.
Hello Princess, along with collaborators Altis International dropped their dramatic trailer for violent revenge-thriller ‘Vengeance’, starring EastEnders legends Billy Murray and Leslie Grantham as well as Berlin Bear winner Crissy Rock this week. The film, described by critics as ‘brutal British filmmaking’ and ‘a terrifying, chilling swan-song from Grantham’ follows Murray as a man on the run who’s estranged daughter is brutally attacked. The police are reluctant to act and so Eric must return to a city he no longer recognises to deal with the culprits himself, relying on help from his last remaining friends.’ The film will be released on November 2nd in the UK through distributor High Fliers Films.