Word got out just a week ago that director Shawn Levy was eying 20th Century Fox's new Frankenstein project, with the intention of making it (not the Fantastic Voyage remake) his followup to this fall's boxing robots flick, Real Steel.
Reports are in that Levy has actually signed on for the flick, which will be fast-tracked for development - in order to beat out the half-dozen other Frankenstein-oriented movies currently in the works.
Variety says that Levy is set to take on Fox's Frankenstein retelling, thereby besting other candidates like Harry Potter franchise helmer David Yates and Paul Greengrass - who, as coincidence would have it, was briefly attached to direct the Fantastic Voyage remake before he moved on and Levy was hired for the job.
On that note: Fox is also the studio behind the James Cameron-produced Fantastic Voyage, so setting Levy to work on a new Frankenstein movie seems to indicate one of two scenarios:
- Levy remains attached to helm Fantastic Voyage, but the high cost of the CGI-heavy 3D project has made studio executives weary about moving forward without a bankable star attached. Since Will Smith seemingly decided to take a pass, this particular remake has been put on the back-burner until for now.
- Levy is essentially off as director on Fantastic Voyage and Fox will start searching for a replacement in the near future.
Frankenstein movies are arguably as much the rage right now as vampire or zombie flicks, judging by the number of in-development projects based on Mary Shelley's classic tale of science gone wrong. Besides Levy's film, there is also Matt Reeves' prequel, This Dark Endeavor; Universal's "updated" take on the story (a la Sherlock Holmes?), which Guillermo del Toro remains loosely attached to; Lakeshore Entertainment's I, Frankenstein, which Stuart Beattie (30 Days of Night, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) is set to both write and direct; and several more that are seemingly stuck in the early stages of pre-production.
Max Landis (son of An American Werewolf in London director John Landis) is scripting Levy's Frankenstein flick, which Variety says is being described as "a sci-fi take on the traditional Mary Shelley story, focusing on themes of friendship and redemption." That doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since Shelley's original novel is deeply rooted in the sci-fi genre, but, moving on...
Levy is well-versed in handling effects-heavy films (like the Night at the Museum movies) and has proven himself competent in the area of action-comedy (Date Night), but he has some pretty mediocre-to-lame comedy titles on his resume, including Just Married, Cheaper by the Dozen, and The Pink Panther. To be fair, though, a Frankenstein movie would be in an almost entirely different ball park.
Everyone's waiting to see if Levy will follow through on his promise and deliver a fighting robots movie with heart in the form of Real Steel. If he has managed to infuse that film with genuinely-moving drama and sincere emotion, then there will be good reason to see what Levy does with a version of Frankenstein that (presumably) focuses more on the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his infamous monster.
We will keep you posted on the status of Levy's Frankenstein as the story develops.