By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist July 10, 2012 at 10:20PM
Multi-hyphenate Eli Roth certainly hasn't just been lazing about over the past decade—he tackled a sizeable role as the Bear Jew in buddy Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds," kick-started a new horror franchise as a producer with "The Last Exorcism," and soon will even be starring in Chilean earthquake thriller "Aftershock" (which he also produced)—but he has been absent from the director's chair since 2007's "Hostel: Part 2." While many are divided on whether Roth is a genre maven or just a lucky hack, there's no denying he's had a solid fan base hounding for an extension of his "Grindhouse" faux trailer "Thanksgiving" for some time now, with Roth even looking to expand the scope of his filmmaking with a big budget sci-fi picture entitled "Endangered Species." Word has been quiet on both those fronts, but now a little news has stirred up that could have Roth finally directing on a much larger scale.
Deadline has early word that Roth is currently in talks with Warner Bros. to take the directing duties on the currently in-development "Harker," which is set to star Russell Crowe. You may recall that back in January, the trades reported that Crowe would be a lock for the lead role of Jonathan Harker, a Scotland Yard detective hot on the trail of Dracula, offering a new take on the infamous fanged one. Deadline notes that Crowe will instead be filling the long black cloak of Dracula himself, with the film hailing from the much talked about spec script by Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy that the studio snapped up in 2011.
You may remember that "Unknown" and "Orphan" director Jaume Collet-Serra was originally set to helm the film, but with him already reteaming with Liam Neeson on "Nonstop" and lining up "Here There Be Monsters" potentially with Bradley Cooper, we suppose this left a nice little spot for Roth to slide into view of the film's producers at Appian Way who are apparently looking to put this one on the fast-track with hopes to get things underway next year.
We have to admit that seeing what Roth could do with something aside from the schlocky horror fare like "Cabin Fever" and the "Hostel" films—especially on a larger, studio scale—could work like gangbusters for a helmer who consistently proves he's a talent that perhaps just hasn't reached his full potential yet (though the cult of "Cabin Fever" and "Hostel" seems to continually grow with time). While Roth is certainly busy with production duties on the Netflix series "Hemlock Grove" and "Donnie Darko" helmer Richard Kelly's next film "Corpus Christi", we're sure he'd make a little time to step out into the big league. Plus, he already has a past working with Crowe on the much-anticipated RZA directorial feature "The Man With The Iron Fists"—along with healthy creative relationship with Shipman and McGreevy who co-wrote and are executive producing "Hemlock Grove." While the title role has still yet to be cast, with the potential for the film to set-up for a franchise, we're interested in seeing just where Roth could take this Goth-sounding vampire tale.