Universal Pictures is set to give Len Wiseman (Underworld, Total Recall) the helm of their upcoming reboot of The Mummy, last seen on the big screen in a trilogy led by Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz in the first two, and Dwayne Johnson in The Scorpion King.
The film will be produced by the ever-brilliant duo of Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci (Star Trek, Transformers), alongside former partners Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks, who produced the latest trilogy.
Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour, Prometheus) is penning the script, and the studio are eyeing a release for summer 2014, which is currently already blockbuster heavy, with the likes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Transformers 4, Ninja Turtles, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy all set for release that season – which, by the by, sounds like an utterly epic few months.
None of those, however, are coming to us from Universal, and The Mummy could naturally be a big film with the likes of Wiseman at the helm, and Kurtzman and Orci producing.
The studio are naturally fond of franchises, and already have the next Fast & Furious, Kick-Ass, and Despicable Me (and the Minion spin-off) instalments coming our way soon, with sequels in the works for Bourne, potentially Ted, and Snow White in the Huntsman as well. And The Mummy could certainly be a big franchise in the years to come, with the last trilogy taking more than $1bn.
“When I first heard Universal was relaunching this, that is the image that popped into my head, the period tale, the old monster, but when Bob and Alex pitched it, there was a great new take and approach, and a very different mummy as well,” Wiseman told me. “It’s a darker twist on the material, a scarier version.”
With Kurtzman adding,
“We’re reaching into the deep roots of The Mummy, which at its beating heart is a horror movie and then an action movie, and putting it into a context that is real and emotional,” Kurtzman said. “It’s still a four-quadrant film but as a lot of recent movies have proven, audiences are hungry for more than they used to be. You can still have a family movie, an action movie that’s more grounded than these used to be. Without saying too much, we’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from Michael Crichton’s books, and how he ground fantastical tales in modern-day science.”
Wiseman’s work was last seen on the big screen this summer in Total Recall, which went to #2 at the US box office, and has been performing nicely, despite not earning wide critical acclaim – action films rarely do.
He’s a director who launched the Underworld franchise, rebooted the Die Hard franchise with Die Hard 4.0 (or, Live Free or Die Hard), and helmed the pilot for Hawaii Five-0, and naturally he seems like a solid choice to take on The Mummy.
With no current tentpole set for release in the summer of 2014, Universal look like they’re ready to move quickly on this, and with such strong producers behind the scenes, a proven director at the helm, and an up-and-coming writer penning the script, here’s to hoping we’ll have an awesome take on the classic tale coming our way in two summers’ time. More as we get it.