Unlike previous incarnations of the book, “Harker” will focus on Scotland Yard detective Jonathan Harker who is tracking Dracula. The script sets him up as a potential new franchise character. And no, before you ask, DiCaprio is not planning to star in the film.
In the 1897 novel, Harker is actually a solicitor who travels to Transylvania to act as a real estate agent for a foreign client named Count Dracula. While there, he finds himself a prisoner of Dracula, who reveals himself as a vampire. After a traumatic experience with Dracula’s three vampire brides, Harker manages to escape and finds refuge at a mental hospital, where he suffers a breakdown. His fiancée, Mina Murray, finds him and nurses him back to help, and he successfully joins forces with vampire hunter Van Helsing to kill Dracula once and for all.
Harker has appeared in various forms in the four major “Dracula” adaptations made over the past century. First up was “Nosferatu,” the 1922 adaptation by German director F. W. Murnau. The character’s name was changed to Thomas Hutter, and though many of the plot details were altered for this version of the film the general premise remained the same. Hutter was played by German actor Gustav von Wangenheim.
In the 1931 Hollywood adaptation of the novel, appropriately titled “Dracula,” John Harker’s character has a smaller role, with the character of Renfield replacing him as the solicitor who visits Dracula. Harker, played by David Manners, is merely the fiancée of Mina, though their relationship is ill-fated because of her attraction and relationship with Dracula. However, at the end, it is Mina and Van Helsing who are married.
Then there was the 1958 adaptation of the novel that starred Christopher Lee as Count Dracula. John Van Eyssen played Jonathan Harker, and though his original plot trajectory is similar to that in Stoker’s novel, Dracula kills him before he can escape the island. That sets the stage for Mina to be the person to help Van Helsing kill Dracula at the end.
Most recently, Francis Ford Coppola adapted “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” in 1992. Keanu Reeves played Jonathan Harker in what seems to be the closest adaptation of his character so far. Though there was a love story woven in — Mina is a reincarnation of Vlad Dracula’s wife who killed herself in 1462 and thus caused him to become a vampire after he renounced God — the general plot elements remain the same. Harker manages to live through the end of the film as well.
Do you like the idea for this new adaptation of “Dracula”? Who do you think should play Harker? Give us your feedback in the comments section and on Twitter!