Long before strolling the streets of New York as a modern day interpretation of Sherlock Holmes in the show Elementary, Jonny Lee Miller took a turn as a vampire hunter in the film Dracula 2000. Hollywood hadn’t delivered a big budget take on Dracula since 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and for the start of a new century, Dracula got the obligatory update. Although it spawned two sequels (both of which went direct to video), Dracula 2000 didn’t prove very successful at the box office, not even with Wes Craven’s name slapped on the posters (Craven didn’t direct the film, he only served as an executive producer).
Among the characters created for the film is Simon Sheppard, played by Miller. He’s a young apprentice to the real vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing. Simon thinks he’s just working for an old antiques dealer, but what he doesn’t know is that his boss is the original Van Helsing who is sitting on Dracula’s body (kept locked in a vault, not really sitting on it) until he can find a way to kill Dracula for good. In fact, Van Helsing has kept himself alive much longer than natural by taking small doses of Dracula’s blood. Of course, when Dracula gets loose, Van Helsing goes after him and Simon goes along for the ride.
As I pointed out, this movie didn’t do well at the box office. Why is tough to say, because it’s not that bad of a vampire film. In fact, you can find a lot of love for it on its imdb page despite its low rating. I think the promotion for the film didn’t do it any favors, because it certainly came across as more style than substance. What’s fascinating is to revisit the film more than 15 years later and realize how many big names showed up in Dracula 2000, including Gerard Butler as Dracula and Nathon Fillion (who, like Miller, went on to star in a TV mystery series of his own, Castle)