It’s no secret that Universal’s wildly ambitious Dark Universe got off on the wrong foot.
Two months ago, Alex Kurtzman and Co. reanimated The Mummy in the form of a bloated, poorly written franchise-starter that leaned heavily on its international audience to offset box office disappointment – figures reveal that Kurtzman’s dark fantasy romp only grossed $79 million domestic, but still went on to make $390 million worldwide. But in spite of those damning reviews, Universal has set the ball rolling, and there are already plans in place for Bride of Frankenstein (Angelina Jolie) and The Invisible Man (Johnny Depp).
Looking further afield, The Hollywood Reporter brings word of another DU project that is now beginning to flicker into life: Van Helsing. Sources close to the outlet claim Channing Tatum (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Gambit) is in contention to headline as the titular monster hunter for an origin story that is, apparently, as scary as can be. Plus, the fact that Tatum’s name has purportedly cropped up on the studio’s radar leads us to believe that this Helsing revival will feature a younger version of the screen icon.
THR stopped short of divulging any further details on the potential casting of Tatum, so we imagine this ‘deal’ is far from a sure thing. Besides, The Golden Circle actor already has the long-brewing Gambit on his plate, and despite reports to the contrary, 20th Century Fox is actively developing the troubled X-Men spinoff right now. Headlining a big-budget entry into the Dark Universe would only nudge the Remy LeBeau origin movie further down the pecking order, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out.
Last time Universal summoned Van Helsing onto the big screen was in 2004, when Logan‘s Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale toplined an overly cheesy, forgettable adventure flick involving Helsing’s eternal battle against Count Dracula.
From what we understand, this new take on Van Helsing will be much darker in nature to dovetail with the tone and style of Universal’s Dark Universe, and though Dan Mazeau is on script duties, the movie is still in search of a director. As always, we’ll be sure to let you know once we hear more.