A new take on the story of vampire hunter Van Helsing is in the works at Syfy who have announced the casting of Kelly Overton into the lead role. While the character has been portrayed by more than 20 men on TV and in film – notably Anthony Hopkins in 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Christopher Plummer in Dracula 2000, and Hugh Jackman in the 2004 film Van Helsing – this tale is going a different route. For starter’s it’s about Van Helsing’s daughter Vanessa, and according to Syfy’s synopsis, she’s also undead.
Van Helsing centers on Vanessa Helsing, the daughter of famous vampire hunter and Dracula nemesis Abraham Van Helsing. She is resurrected five years in the future to find out that vampires have taken over the world in an event called the Rising, and that she possesses unique power over them. She is humanity’s last hope to lead an offensive to take back what has been lost.
(She really ought to check out Forks or Sunnydale to do some recruiting.)
Overton is best known as werewolf Rikki Naylor on True Blood though she’s also had long-term roles on Legends and Beauty and the Beast. As a star athlete in high school – her bio notes she was undefeated in Western Massachusetts in the high hurdles – it sounds like she’ll be up for whatever action the part requires.
The series will be produced by Nomadic Pictures with Neil LaBute (Hell on Wheels, Billions) as showrunner and one of the executive producers. It’s set for a 13 episode run this fall. It sounds like they’ve taken a page from The Walking Dead version of America, setting the story in a future where vampires are the norm. “Van Helsing represents a new mythology in sci-fi by challenging traditional vampire rules. The series is unique in exploring a world completely dominated by vampires, while the human characters have to learn the importance of working together to ensure their survival.”
Working together? Let’s hope this isn’t set during an election year.
Also joining the cast are Jonathan Scarfe (Hell on Wheels) as Axel, Christopher Heyerdahl (Hell on Wheels) as Sam, David Cubitt (Ray Donovan) as John, Paul Johansson (Mad Men) as Dimitri, and Tim Guinee (Homeland) as Ted. According to Deadline Axel is “a career Marine with unwavering devotion and loyalty to both duty and his wards, despite years of isolation and endless vampire attacks.” Sam and John are both human survivors of the Rising, while Ted is a vampire soldier and Dimitri a vampire leader.