Writer-producer duo Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) are currently backing a pair of supernatural horror reboots, The Mummy and Van Helsing. The latter franchise originated as a Stephen Sommers film - based, of course, on the famous Dracula vampire hunter - but the former existed long before Sommers put his own spin on the story, with a 1999 blockbuster starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.
Director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard, Total Recall) recently spilled some new details about the Mummy reboot, revealing the setting and tone for the pitch from Jon Spaihts (who penned the initial Prometheus script draft titled Alien: Engineers).
Here's what Wiseman told Movieweb about remaking The Mummy (again):
"There was skepticism. The difference between ['Mummy' and 'Total Recall'], if The Mummy is to be the next movie for me, is that The Mummy is a completely different film. It is a modern day take. It doesn't have anything to do with the Brendan Fraser films, and it is not a remake of any kind."
Fraser's Mummy trilogy (for better or worse) trades in the genuine horror aspect of previous incarnations - including, those starring classic horror icons Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee - and mixes CGI-heavy spectacle with a serial-adventure tone that falls further on the campy side than the Indiana Jones franchise. Of course, when the average modern moviegoer hears 'Mummy reboot,' they probably think of Fraser's films being remade (rather than its more-cherished predecessors).
Wiseman commented on that as follows:
"The Mummy is one of Universal's long standing, iconic characters, well before the Brendan Fraser movies... This is such a different thing. What was attractive to me...There is still a script to be written, and all of that....But the pitch was to go with a much different tone. It was a Mummy like I'd never heard of before. Its nothing like what you would expect, at all, oddly. I was picturing Egypt, and the sand swept settings. The mummy wrappings. When I heard what they were wanting to actually do with it, it was shocking..."
The director went on to reiterate that his Mummy will indeed be set in the 21st century:
"It's horror. Its epic. It's more of a modern day version of what would happen if we came across a mummy in our world today. It is pretty fascinating."
"Epic," of course, is a term like "grittier" or "more grounded"; that is, it's become a cliché used for hyping blockbusters, especially remakes and reboots. Judging by Wiseman's previous work, his Mummy reboot could indeed earn the "epic" label in the area of great set pieces and action (which Total Recall delivered). But will it offer either the goofy fun of Fraser's films or dread of earlier Mummy installments - or is this particular remake doomed from the get-go?
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments section.
Meanwhile, we'll keep you posted on The Mummy reboot as the story develops.