Universal Pictures has plans to release a new movie featuring one of its classic monsters (The Wolf Man, Bride of Frankenstein, and so on) every year, starting in 2017 with director Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy franchise reboot. The project has a script by Jon Spaihts (who penned the Alien: Engineers script that became Prometheus and the upcoming Doctor Strange) and is currently putting together a cast, ahead of production getting underway closer to Spring 2016.

Tom Cruise is reported to be lining up to play an ex-Navy SEAL who crosses paths with the eponymous creature in the present-day in Kurtzman’s film. The actor’s reps have denied that such a deal is in the making right now, but sources continue to insist that Cruise will be starring in the movie – and now, we may know who he’s going to be sharing the screen with, too.

THR is reporting that Sofia Boutella has entered talks to play the title role in The Mummy, confirming previous reports that the Mummy could be a woman in this latest version of the Universal supernatural horror/adventure franchise. Most of the lead characters in Universal’s rebooted Shared Monsters Movie Universe are expected to be male, so it’s a smart move on the studio’s part to mix things up more with regard to the monsters’ genders – especially seeing as more and more people are now willing to openly criticize studio franchises and properties for disparities in terms of gender representation (on both sides of the camera, too).

Boutella, for her part, is a talented performer whose career is on the up and up, thanks to her breakout turn as the villainous Gazelle in the comic book adaptation Kingsman: The Secret Service this year. Boutella has already become a part of one major franchise – having landed a role in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond – and will costar in the Charlize Theron action/thriller The Coldest City, in addition to her (potential) Mummy role. Moreover, since Boutella is of Algerian-French descent, Universal shouldn’t be accused of white-washing its eponymous character in the way that fantasy/adventure Gods of Egypt has been for casting actors like Gerard Butler to play Egyptian deities.

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The rebooted Shared Monsters Movie Universe is, by the look of it, Universal’s answer to the success of Marvel Studios and its superhero cinematic universe. As we’ve mentioned here on Screen Rant many a time over the past year, Hollywood studios in general have started to embrace the “cinematic universe” model when it comes to expanding their franchises of late – whether it’s Universal and its own monster movies, Star Wars over at Disney/Lucasfilm, Transformers at Paramount, or the DC Extended Universe over at Warner Bros. Pictures.

So far, Universal’s approach to reviving its monster film properties has included recruiting not just up and comers like Boutella, but also seasoned veterans on both sides of the camera. Hence, the Fast & Furious series writer/producer Chris Morgan and Kurtzman are the architects on the rebooted Monster Universe, while stars like Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie (the latter of whom is being eyed to play the Bride of Frankenstein) are being pursued to star in these films. There’ve already been failed attempts to launch new cinematic universes (see Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2), but time will tell if Universal’s new monster-verse succeeds where others did not (or vice versa).

NEXT: Not All Shared Universes Are Created Equally

The Mummy opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017, followed by a currently-untitled Monster Movie (rumored to be The Wolf Man) on March 20th, 2018.

Source: THR

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