Universal's reboot of The Mummy fell on hard times this summer when the film found itself suddenly without Len Wiseman as a director mid-July, possibly due to his involvement with the impending run of the new Sleepy Hollow TV series. While that development put the studio in something of a tight spot, there's a light at the end of the tunnel for the house of Hollywood's iconic movie monsters - talks have begun with a potential candidate to replace the departed Wiseman.
That happens to be Guillermo del Toro's protege, Andres Muschietti, whose name may not ring a bell, but whose debut film, Mama, should. The creepy film scored almost $150 million dollars across the globe, and all on a meager $15 million dollar budget. Universal reached out to Muschietti in August, and the two parties have been working on a deal together ever since.
THR broke the news earlier today, though there's not much else to say at present - Muschietti only has an offer on the table, nothing more, nothing less. Chalk up Universal's decision to pursue him to simple box office math; they distributed Mama, after all, and bringing him on to oversee The Mummy makes a certain amount of business sense. He's made a mint for them once before, so there's a decent chance that he has what it takes to do it again.
Whether or not Muschietti will strike gold with the reboot is another question entirely. Universal is describing the film as an "action-adventure tentpole with horror elements," verbiage that hints at a budget at least slightly beyond what he had to work with on Mama. Tentpoles usually command respectable funds, though if Muschietti proved anything with Mama, it's that he has a gift for making a little look like a lot onscreen (barring the unflattering CGI-rendered antagonist, that is). Having more money at his fingertips certainly couldn't hurt.
Stylistically, Muschietti's possible participation feels perhaps slightly odd despite his eye for creature design. One doesn't get much of a feeling of "action-adventure" from watching Mama, a film that's best characterized as eerie, atmospheric, story-driven horror than anything else. Then again, it's difficult to judge a director from just a single movie, even one as solid as Mama, so maybe Muschietti has more tricks up his sleeve than we realize.
If he does sign on to The Mummy, then he'll certainly end up expanding on his repertoire. Universal seems to have big plans for the reboot, which Wiseman himself once described as "epic" (though in fairness, he made that comment nine months ago).
Maybe the bigger issue here is that Muschietti's presence on this will put a serious underscore on the matter of whether or not he'll handle the Mama sequel Universal started kicking around a while back. Tying himself to The Mummy franchise could make it hard for him to give his two cents on a follow-up to his first feature film.
What do you think, Screen Ranters? Does Muschietti directing The Mummy reboot intrigue you? Or did you dislike Mama enough that you'd prefer to have Len Wiseman back?
We'll keep you posted on further updates on The Mummy reboot as they become available.