A rebooted version of Universal Pictures’ classic Monster Cinematic Universe is currently in development, with the Fast & Furious movies’ screenwriter Chris Morgan and Star Trek franchise co-writer Alex Kurtzman overseeing the venture. Kurtzman has begun production on his own Monster Franchise Film (as Universal is currently calling them) in the form of The Mummy: an action/adventure set in the present-day, with Tom Cruise playing either an active or former special forces soldier who does battle with the eponymous supernatural creature – who, in this take on the Mummy property, is being played by Kingsman: The Secret Service‘s Sofia Boutella.
Costarring Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Binders) as a scientist who works with Cruise’s character and Jake Johnson (Jurassic World) as a member of the military, Kurtzman’s The Mummy is expected to both pave the way for and connect with future Monster Franchise Films in a manner that resembles how films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (among other shared cinematic universes) interconnect with one another. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that Kurtzman’s The Mummy is poised to introduce and setup at least one additional famous “monster” for future movie appearances.
Deadline is reporting that Russell Crowe is in early talks to play a “Jekyll-like role” in Kurtzman’s The Mummy reboot, while THR is reporting that Crowe will play the Dr. Jekyll (and his violent alter ego, Mr. Hyde) in the film, should he sign on. Reading between the lines, it sounds as though Crowe is indeed being groomed to play the rebooted Universal Monster Franchise/Universe’s equivalent of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll – that is, one who exists in the present-day and not in the late 19th century, like the character did in Robert Louis Stevenson’s original “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” novella or subsequent movies, TV shows, books, and even graphic novels that were inspired by Stevenson’s literary work (see: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Penny Dreadful, and so forth).
THR‘s report mentions that such A-listers as Oscar-winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall) and Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant) were both approached to play said “Jekyll-like” role in The Mummy before Crowe, but the talks with those actors failed to produce a deal. It’s possible that Crowe won’t sign on either; after all, the Oscar-winning actor has generally steered clear of movie franchises thus far, with the exception of his turn as Jor-El in Man of Steel – a role that didn’t require a multiple-film commitment the way that this Jekyll role would, at that. Crowe also previously passed on playing a role in the upcoming Kong: Skull Island, a movie that will connect with the 2014 Godzilla reboot and lay the groundwork for the release of Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020.
The chance to play characters as famous as Jekyll/Hyde in The Mummy might be too tempting for Crowe to pass on though, even if it requires him to agree to reprise the role in future Universal Monster Franchise Films. After all, many people were surprised when Cruise decided to sign on for Kurtzman’s Mummy reboot; and with Johnny Depp attached to star in The Invisible Man reboot and Angelina Jolie reportedly being eyed to star in the Bride of Frankenstein reboot, the rebooted Universal movie movie universe is one “sandbox” that could provide Crowe an opportunity to act opposite some noteworthy talent (n both The Mummy and future movies too). We’ll keep you posted.
The Mummy will open in U.S. theaters on June 9th, 2017, followed by Untitled Universal Monster Franchise Films on April 13th, 2018 and February 15th, 2019.