The weird sisters of Bram Stoker’s Dracula are doing it for themselves. Greg Berlanti and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who brought the devil out of Riverdale to spawn Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, are shooting pilot for The Brides for ABC.
The project goes back to 2015, when NBC put in an order for a script. For ABC’s desanguinated re-incarnation, the script will be written by Aguirre-Sacasa, who will executive produce alongside Berlanti and his head of production company, Sarah Schechter. This new series promises to move “stronger into horror and sexuality as it reimagines the classic vampire characters.” The pilot will be directed by Maggie Kiley (American Horror Story, Riverdale, Katy Keene). ABC Studios and Warner Bros. Television will coproduce the series.
The project was announced back in January. The Brides is technically ABC’s first pilot order of the 2020-21 broadcast season. It is the first shot across the bow for Karey Burke, who as ABC’s entertainment president promised to bring interesting and significant roles to the network owned by The Mouse. Her first pickup is one of the most unsung sirens of gothic horror. Oh, but they have made their impact on features.
The Brides Cast
The cast of The Brides is starting to come together, with the final piece of its main cast falling into place.
Erin Richards rounds out the main cast, as Variety reports. She is set to play Renée Pélagie, one of the three Brides of Dracula (completing the titular trio), described as “the head of a top modeling agency in New York City, known for her torrid affairs with her beautiful female models. In her former life, she was the wife of the Marquis de Sade when she invited Dracula into her ‘house of pain’ and asked to be ‘turned’ by him.”
Richards, a Welsh actress, completed a five-season run last year on Fox’s Batman prequel series, Gotham, as Barbara Kean, a romantic lead-turned psychopathic villain-turned unstable antihero. She came into that lengthy breakthrough role after a regular run on short-lived Fox sitcom Breaking In, along with appearances on the BBC’s Merlin and original Being Human. She more recently co-starred in holiday comedy movie The Christmas Kid, and served as director for the March 8 episode of CBS’s God Friended Me, a behind-the-camera trade she formally commenced with an episode of Gotham’s final season and 2018 short Hot Girl.
Goran Višnjić has been cast as the one and only Count Dracula (news via THR). Of course, since the show is called The Brides, he won’t be the focus here, with this version of the vampire described as a “powerful” and “ageless… King of Night” and the turner of the titular brides. However, after his castle in the Carpathian Mountains is destroyed, the trio leave him for dead, after which they embark on a new life together.
Višnjić, a Croatian-born actor, first made waves from his 1999-2008 run on NBC’s ER, since seen fielding TV runs on Hulu’s Dollface, Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet, NBC’s Timeless and Crossing Lines, and CBS’s Extant, along with films like The Tribes of Palos Verdes, The Counselor and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He recently starred in the Croatian military drama series, General, and played inventor Nikola Tesla in the most recent season of BBC’s Doctor Who.
ABC previously revealed the brides themselves as well as early character descriptions.
Katherine Reis (Claws, Rise) will star as Lily Stevens, “the youngest of the three Brides of Dracula, Lily is a striving singer in New York City whose relationship to a news reporter threatens to tear apart her marriage to her ‘sisters.’ In her former life, she braved the streets of Jack the Ripper’s London, until being ‘rescued’ by Dracula.”
Sophia Tatum (I Am Not Okay with This, Salt) fields the series-regular role of Justine Strang. “Completely friendless and new to town, Justine shows up at the studio of Renée Pélagie (not yet cast), a top modeling agent in New York City — and the ‘middle’ bride of Dracula. Renée soon takes this young, hungry, aspiring model under her wing, unaware that Justine may have a past with Dracula as well.”
Chris Mason (Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, Broadchurch) will play Roland Grant. “Described as a stylish real estate mogul, he arrives in town to challenge Cleo (Torres) — the ‘Queen of New York City real estate,’ and the leader of the brides of Dracula — for professional supremacy. With secret ties to Dracula, Roland has a personal stake in the destruction of the Brides.”
Gina Torres (Suits, Firefly) plays Cleo Phillips. “One of the three Brides of Dracula and the leader of this vampire trio, Cleo is an imperious woman with a queenly manner —understandably, as she was a queen in her former life who was turned by Dracula after the death of her husband. Now a maven of New York City real estate, Cleo is challenged professionally by a mysterious newcomer — even as her ties to her sisters are dangerously fraying.”
The Brides Story
According to its official synopsis The Brides will be “a sexy, contemporary reimagining of the Dracula saga as a family drama with a trio of powerful, diverse female leads. With strong horror elements, The Brides is a vampire soap about empowered, immortal women and the things they do to maintain wealth, prestige, legacy—and their non-traditional family.”
Based on the character description that accompanied the announcement of Goran Višnjić as Count Dracula, the series begins when the Count is “left for dead at his destroyed castle in the Carpathian mountains while his three wives, Cleo (Torres), Renee and Lily (Reis), flee to start a new life together.
The Brides, who Jonathan Harker called the “weird sisters,” a belittling misdemeanor in the regressive offenses of the Victorian Age, are the most magnetic characters in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. They have their own crypts in his castle in Transylvania, can hypnotize Harker with dust specks, and give him more sexual fulfillment in two beautifully worded paragraphs than Mina Murray does in the rest of the book. They had kisses enough for everyone in an age when men in powdered wigs dictated the legalities of morality. The sisters were everything that kept the Victorian male up at night, both in fear and desire.
Aguirre-Sacasa’s Riverdale was recently renewed for season 5. Its midseason spinoff, Katy Keene appears to be a hit with viewers. Berlanti currently has over 20 scripted originals in the works. Prior to The Brides, Berlanti’s work at ABC included the series Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone.
This isn’t the only gothic reincarnations coming. HBO Max ordered a pilot for The Shelley Society, inspired by the works of Mary Shelley. She will head a band of Romantic outlaws, including Percy and Lord Byron, into battle against supernatural threats and monsters in what is being called a Victorian X-Files.
The Brides Release Date
There is no release date yet announced for The Brides. but hopefully we’ll see them in time for the Fall 2020 TV season.