A FILM director has swapped the sunny weather of Los Angeles for the icy chill of Whitby to shoot a £7m vampire movie in the town.
Sean McConville (50) found fame after he made psychological thriller Deadline in 2009 starring the late Brittany Murphy who appeared in movies including Clueless, 8 Mile and Sin City and Thora Birch (American Beauty, The Hole).
The $2.5m independent film, was distributed to 38 countries for theatrical release and was the last film American actress Brittany was in before her untimely death at the age of 32 from a heart attack.
Now Sean, who is also an expert in special effects and has worked on movies including Golden Eye, Star Wars Phantom Menace in which he operated the robot R2-D2, Jude, and Oscar and Lucinda, has secured world-renowned casting agents Ros and John Hubbard (Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit) in a bid to make the film a box office smash.
His company Frenzy Films plans to take the project to the Berlin and Cannes Film markets next year for international sales and financing while casting is due to begin in spring 2013.
Called Vampire United, the film centres on a struggling non-league club, Whitby United, which is bought by a Solvanian vampire entrepreneur who is hell bent on taking them into the premiere league.
Ex-Arsenal star and captain of the team, Bobby Edwards, must rise up against the vampires to save the beautiful game of football from being infected by the living dead.
Sean got the idea for the script while living in LA and decided to move here without ever visiting the town with his partner Stephanie Joalland, to get fully immersed in Whitby and its characters to help inspire him further.
He said: “It’s great being here working on the script, finding film locations and talking to people that would be involved.
“I’m a fan of genre films, I do love Vampire films, it’s such a natural fit because Dracula is my favourite novel.
“Coming to Whitby was to soak in the atmosphere. Being up on the West Cliff at Royal Crescent, where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula is inspiring.”
Sean said he is looking at securing big names to star in the film – actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Rupert Grint and Colin Farrell are all on his hit list.
He added Whitby is very different from LA where he attended film school after a career change and he hopes to use Whitby as much as possible in the movie with the 199 Steps, St Mary’s Church graveyard, the Abbey and the Turnbull Ground all set to feature.
“The weather is always sunny every day and also in LA everyone is in the business where as here, we love living here, there’s no industry here,” he added.
“Nowadays many films are made in a studio but in my film, everything would be in Whitby.
“There have been as many as 300 films made about Dracula but non of them ever have been made in Whitby nor have they mentioned in the narrative that the acutal location of the story is actually Whitby where Bram Stoker set much of the story in the novel.
“One of my main goals in making the film is to make the authentic link between Dracula and Whitby more widely known.
“I think producing the film in Whitby would offer a lot of employment to locals.
“A lot of accommodation would be needed for a crew of 150 people on this film for eight weeks and we would need a lot of extras.
“Whitby has always been a very successful tourist town but if Vampire United is successful, it would put Whitby more on the map than it already is because there are a lot of people that enjoy visiting the locations where well know movies are produced.
“I’m very excited about it.”
Anyone interested in contacting Sean at Frenzy Films can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org