Shared cinematic universes are, of course, not something that began with Marvel Studios’ film/TV universe; Universal created one decades ago with its classic monster movies (Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.), and the studio is now planning to reboot its many creature features for the big screen. Writer/author Noah Hawley, who’s now an Emmy-winner thanks to his work as showrunner on the first season of FX’s Fargo series, is reportedly working on one such project that will be part of the resurrected cinematic world of Universal-owned monsters.
Studios has (finally) started to recruit more promising up and coming talent – as well as established filmmakers that have distinct styles and directorial voices – to work on their tentpole projects. That trend looks to only continue in the foreseeable future, as evidenced by the lists of folk developing new projects for organizations such as Marvel Studios (James Gunn, Scott Derrickson, etc.) and the directors working on Star Wars movies for Lucasfilm. Other studios’ talent rosters worth noting include Legendary Pictures’ (teaming with Guillermo del Toro on multiple projects) and now Universal with its monsters films.
Alex Kurtzman (a writer/producer on Transformers, Star Trek, and the Amazing Spider-Man franchise) is leading the way for Universal’s rebooted monsters universe, by directing The Mummy for a 2016 launch. However, a Hawley-penned monster film – news that comes from a Deadline article reporting on Sony having set Hawley to pen a screen adaptation of his own novel, Before the Fall – sounds just as intriguing (perhaps more so if you’re not generally a Kurtzman fan).
Hawley has demonstrated a knack for infusing genre conventions with a more pronounced literary intelligence, especially when it comes to crime/drama fare – be it his award-winning work on Fargo, or his previous contributions as a story editor and producer on the the investigative procedural series Bones. Does Hawley’s affinity for crime genre material (and ability to create realistic humans who are nonetheless quite “monstrous” in their own way) offer a clue to what Universal monster film he might be working on?
It’s possible, though there are several Universal monster films that could/should have crime story elements to them. Upcoming reboots of The Wolfman and The Invisible Man, for instance, would seem befitting of a crime investigation narrative; same goes for something like Van Helsing, which could easily feature Dr. Helsing as a detective who battles supernatural forces. Of course, it’s always possible that Hawley is attempting to move away from crime/mystery plots, with his untitled monster movie.
Feel free and let us know what Universal monster film you think/hope Hawley is working on. In the meantime, we know that The Mummy is slated to reach theaters on June 24th, 2016, and while Dracula Untold (arriving on October 10th next month) isn’t formally lined up to become part of the Universal Shared Monsters Universe yet, that could easily change if the film proves to be a box office success.