Universal is planning to reboot its Shared Monster Movie Universe for the 21st century, starting with director Alex Kurtzman's The Mummy. It remains to be seen if Luke Evans' Vlad the Impaler from Dracula Untold will be included in the upcoming slate of monster films (as was the plan back in 2014) or if the Dracula role is going to be recast; for now, though, the studio appears to be more focused on landing A-list talent to bring other, non-vampiric creatures of the night to life in this cinematic universe.
Case in point, Universal was recently reported to be eying Angelina Jolie to headline the Bride of Frankenstein reboot - a film that has neither an official writer/director nor release date at this point. Similarly, we're now getting word that Tom Cruise has entered talks to headline Kurtzman's reboot of the Mummy film property.
Variety is reporting that Cruise has entered discussions to star in The Mummy, with production starting by Spring 2016 in order to make the film's current March 2017 theatrical release date. While the initial report doesn't clarify exactly who Cruise would play in Kurtzman's film, a followup Tweet from Variety's Justin Kroll states that the actor is up to play an ex-Navy SEAL in the modern-day - which is when the movie is confirmed to take place - and that the eponymous Mummy might in fact be a woman, as has been rumored in recent months.
Cruise is planning to reunite with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie on Mission: Impossible 6, with production getting underway in Summer 2016. The actor was previously lining up to re-team with his Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman, on the sci-fi heist thriller Luna Park, after he wraps up his current project, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, and before the next Mission: Impossible installment. However, now that Liman is all but officially set to begin shooting 20th Century Fox's Gambit solo movie in the first half of 2016 instead, Cruise may fill that space in his schedule with The Mummy instead.
UPDATE: Deadline is reporting that both Universal and Cruise's reps have denied that the actor is striking a deal to appear in The Mummy. We'll bring you more information on the situation when we have it.
Those with long memories may even recall that Cruise has been linked to Universal's rebooted Monster Universe in the past too, as he was once attached to headline the studio's Van Helsing reboot (a project currently in the script rewrite stage of development). If Cruise does sign on for The Mummy, then it would be the closest thing that he's done to a full-blown superhero movie to date - as Universal's own Chairman Donan Langley has indicated in the past that the studio's monster film reboots will be closer to action movies featuring characters with super-powers, more than anything else (something that was arguably the case with Dracula Untold):
“We’re really looking to see if there’s ways to create PG-13, more action than horror, like the early work of Steven Spielberg. The world of superheroes is black and white, the world of monsters is not. Sometimes you need evil to fight evil.”
Cruise's track record of late (which includes films like Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, Edge of Tomorrow, and Jack Reacher) has been exceptionally strong, especially when it comes to his movies that fall in the action genre. That is to say: if Cruise does in fact close a deal to headline The Mummy, then it would be an encouraging endorsement of what Kurtzman and his screenwriter Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) have in mind with their re-imagining of the franchise.
The Mummy opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017, followed by a currently-untitled Monster Movie on March 20th, 2018.