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Culture: The Historian and the Vampire: Kostova Novel to be Filmed
Friday, 15 June 2007 Written by Henry Midgley
Well it appears from various credible sources that a film is going to be made from the novel the Historian. As yet we know little save that the story is being written by Bradley Kane.

The Historian is an interesting novel about the phenomena of Dracula- investigating perhaps more the real person Vlad the Impaler than the mythic Dracula. Elizabeth Kostova the author of the book was inspired by her own travels around Europe with her father when he told her the vampire legends. The novel has an epistolary structure which may be difficult to capture on film- but one would imagine that the Eastern European scenery both ancient and modern will give it an interesting character.

Kostova's novel is very much about the ways that our pasts and our presents interrelate- she is interested in the structure of a family- the novel afterall tells a tale of a family but also in the structure of the ways that pupils and teachers behave around each other- this relationship angle needs subtle handling though by any director.

She is also interested in the documentary fragments of the past- the novel is told through letters, articles and the like- but it depends as well upon a series of books which appear at crucial points to scholars all throughout Europe- it'll be interesting to see the way that the film makers treat the scholars. Previous films about scholarship tend to relegate scholars to mere magicians or geeks- to recognise the vocation of scholarship is a challenge for anyone bred in tinseltown. Of course films based around history run risks as well- too much explication and the film suffers, too little and the audience is lost.

Futhermore of course it will be interesting to see whether the makers of the film can capture the tone of the novel, Laura Miller compared it in Salon to a the fine bordeaux as opposed to the heavily caffeneited Diet Coke Dan Brown produced! Films tend to prefer diet coke to vintage claret- particularly in the Hollywood of today. Indeed one senses depressingly that the temptation will be to turn this novel into the Da Vinci Code two- a temptation that hopefully will be avoided but it could well go that way.

To sum up as yet we don't have a script, a film or even a set of leading actors- upon all those decisions this film will rise and fall. It could be interesting- but the depressing reality is that Hollywood could actually ruin this novel- and Dan Brown it- lets hope they don't and lets hope we get a good film out at the end.