of the year 2000
that very likely may never see the light of day
as a feature film
The story goes like this: In the Fall of 1999, Columbia Pictures bought this screenplay from first time screenwriter Michael Valle for $700,000 (Valle would get an additional $300,000 if the film was made, rounding him out at a cool million for his first industry paycheck). As if the business end wasn't interesting enough to turn Hollywood heads, the film's flashy title made some very high concept commitments to its audience. It was a proposed original sequel to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, featuring both their most famous and fascinating characters. If it read as entertaining as it sounded, it could jumpstart a Sherlock Holmes film franchise, which in American cinema hadn't peaked in decades. Everybody wanted to know if it lived up to its blockbuster potential.
The storyline was as follows:
Dracula returns to England, alive (or undead) and well, to seek revenge on Abraham Van Helsing and the people who tried to destroy him in Transylvania (as chronicled in Bram Stoker's Dracula). When one of Van Helsing's associates dies of an apparent but unlikely suicide, the highly scientific Master Detective Sherlock Holmes (who is not prone to believing in supernatural flights of fancy) is hired to unravel the mystery.
The script was everything one could hope for, and by all accounts going to be one hell of a fun movie. It had impressive action, wonderful humor, and was fantastically faithful to the original works. The project began developments at Chris Columbus' 1492 Productions with Columbus intending to direct it himself. A veteran director of blockbusters such as "Home Alone" and writer of 1985's "Young Sherlock Holmes" film, Columbus' involvement seemed to solidify the film's future. However, there was another British literary hero who would soon set Sherlock Holmes on the shelf:
Chris Columbus became committed to directing the film version of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", leaving "Sherlock Holmes and the Vengeance of Dracula" without a director, but still with a production company behind it, led by Columbus. Columbus would go back and forth on whether or not he wanted to relinquish his director's chair to someone else or wait until after his Harry Potter commitments ended to film Sherlock Holmes. One thing was certain, however. Despite overwhelming fan approval from those who had found the screenplay on the internet, Columbus wanted a new draft of the script. Though he planned to re-write it himself, he had no free time from Harry Potter, and hired softcore horror filmmaker Rand Ravich for the job. It is unknown as to whether or not Ravich's draft has been finished.
In late March of 2001, Michael Valle passed away from septic shock stemming from an infection caused by pancreatic cancer. Chris Columbus has stepped down after directing the first two installments in the Harry Potter series for film, and has not announced a next project. To date, there have been no movements to try and revive interest in "Sherlock Holmes and the Vengeance of Dracula".