Shared Universal Monster-Verse Director Wishlist
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Universal Studios wants to get in on the shared universe trend that is taking the world by storm since Marvel made a billion dollars. I guess, they kind of were head of the curve since the Wolfman eventually met Frankenstein and they all had a run in with Abbott and Costello. Where they really missed their chance was back in 1999 when they rebooted The Mummy with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. If they just made Wesiz an anthropologist instead of an Egyptologist, than her and her mercenary hubbie could go on all kinds of adventures. An uncontacted tribe in the Amazon that prays to a river god that happens to be the Gill Man. A series of strange exsanguinations that team them up with a steampunk forensic expert like Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow who happens to be named Van Helsing.
Frankenstein – Guillermo del Toro
The Monster: The Frankenstein Monster is a jigsaw man created from a number of different corpses brought to life by Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a scientist a bit on the mad side. The Frankenstein Monster has had a rough go of it in the movies. He is often to seen as a villain, and while he is a monster and ends up coming for Doc Frank, he is a much grayer character. That is why sometimes like in the case of Van Helsing or The Monster Squad, he becomes a good guy.
The Man: It has become kind of a joke how many projects del Toro collects but never gets to. He’s a geek, and he gets excited about ideas. He likes to share him with the world when they spring on him. That’s not a crime. Anyways, the biggest reason to get del Toro is simply because he wants to do it. He’s talk about it in the past, and he loves his monsters. He cares for them. He develops them. There not just ugly redshirts for a big hero to kill. They are complicated. I think he’ll capture the sensitivity of the Frankenstein monster.
Dracula – Neil Marshall
The Monster: Based on the novel of the same name by Bram Stoker, which was based on Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler, who was such a merciless son of a bitch that a legend sprung up about him, Count Dracula is one of the longest lasting vampire characters to exist in fiction. He has been a barbaric leader, a romantic lover, and a gothic antihero.
The Man: Like del Toro, I like Marshall for the director chair simply because he wants to do it. He has been connected to the spec script, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, which elaborates on a small part of Bram Stoker’s original novel. Unfortunately, The Last Voyage of the Demeter is set up at a different movie studio than Universal, and if successful, I’m guessing the awful looking Dracula Untold will be considered for the bigger scope project.
The Mummy – Frank Darabont
The Monster: When you hear mummy, you think Egypt, where the preservation of the body was thought to be important for a happy after life. Universal’s mummy is inspired by the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. The Egyptian priest, Imotep, is resurrected by an ancient scroll read a loud. Once alive, he pretends to be a modern man name Ardeth Bey until he meets a woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his former lover. He tries to kill the woman so that he may mummify her and resurrect so they may be together forever
The Man: Frank Darabont is one of the most underrated directors in my opinion. Everyone seems to love Shawshank Redemption, but Darabont has not been the same since he got drummed off of “The Walking Dead” tv series. His L.A. noir show ended up a bust, but I have such fond memories of The Mist and Green Mile. By all accounts, he also wrote a pretty kickass version of Indiana Jones 5 that got re-edited over and over until it was the mess that we got. It would be nice to see him get another bite at the apple of a classic archaeology pulp adventure.
Creature from the Black Lagoon – Andre Ovredal
The Monster: The Creature from the Black Lagoon, or more blandly referred to as the Gill-Man, is the last surviving member of an amphibious humanoid race. He resides in the Amazon and gets the attention of some curious marine biologists when they find the fossilized remains of a different Gill-Man.
The Man: Andre Ovredal a name that is missing more than one accent mark) is a Norwegian filmmaker. It is pretty early into his career, but he made a pretty big splash with 2010’s monster hunting found footage movie, Trollhunter. Trollhunter was pretty damn fun movie about some curious documentary crew investigating bear attacks which turn out to be a cover up made possible by a local hunter to hide the existence of large ugly creatures living in Norway. Maybe it is a little on the nose cut-and-paste for the Gill-man, but Ovredal has yet to take on a new project, at least one that I have heard of.
Invisible Man – Jim Mickle
The Monster: Based on H.G. Wells story, the Invisible Man is actually Dr. Jack Griffin, a chemist who discovered the secret to invisibility . Once invisible, he is stuck that way and allows the freedom to drive him mad with power. He eventually becomes bent on world domination through terror.
The Man: Jim Mickle is one of the most exciting new names in horror. Stake Land and his remake of We Are What We Are are some of the best recent horror flicks, some of the few modern horror that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the classic. His new thriller Cold in July will probably end up being one of my favorite movies of the year. I think what makes him so good for this particular Universal monster is all his movies are about the inherent darkness of humanity, and that is the essential theme of Invisible Man, more so than all the other monsters, which carry some similar symbolism
Phantom of the Opera – Neil Jordan
The Monster: You are probably thinking of the musical, but before that it was a Universal monster movie. And before that it was a novel. The Phantom himself was usually known as Erik, and while there has been a few variations, he is usually born deformed and now haunts an Opera house gifted with a number of trickster skills like ventriloquism and sleight-of-hand tricks.
The Man: Neil Jordan’s most well-known work is probably Interview with a Vampire with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Since then he has been more interested in character pieces, but a few years ago returned to vampires with Byzantium, an interesting and gothic story spanning many years dealing with the topics of immortality and bloodlust. It had a very operatic flare to it, one that would do a non-musical adaptation of the classic story some good.
The Wolf Man – Guy Ritchie
The Monster: Werewolves, man! Everyone knows about them. If you get bit, you will turn into a beast during the full moon. Honestly, this one took me the longest to figure out. I kept landing on directors who would make a much more bloodier and gorier version of the Wolf Man. I doubt Universal is very interested in that though.
The Man: I ended up landing on Guy Ritchie, the filmmaker behind Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, two movies that are definitely R-rated. After the threepeat misfire of Swept Away, Revolver, and RocknRolla (which was actually quite good), Guy Ritchie has been stuck making more broader appeal adaptations. 2 Sherlock Holmes movies that were a lot of fun, Man from U.N.C.L.E. on the way, and King Arthur in the casting process. I don’t know how those newer movies will turn out, but it Ritchie could do for The Wolf Man what he did for Sherlock Holmes, than it should be a lot of fun, especially after the failed Benicio del Toro version.