Sony Pictures have begun development on a new take on The Island of Doctor Moreau. The classic 1986 H.G. Wells novel tells of a genius scientist who conducts a series of cruel experiments designed to make weird animal/human hybrids. Naturally, it all goes wrong and (in a twist perhaps more shocking to Victorians), Dr. Moreau’s creations end up killing him.
This new version of the story will apparently see ‘tracker for hire’ Miles Cassidy attempting to find a missing scientist that can cure his sick daughter. Cassidy’s investigation leads him to a mysterious island populated by ferocious animal hybrids, where excitement presumably ensues. The film is set to be written and directed by Detective Pikachu‘s Rob Letterman and, in an indication of the tone they’re going for, WGTC has heard from our sources – the same ones who said Transformers is being rebooted and National Treasure 3 is in the works, both of which are now confirmed – that Sony would like Dwayne Johnson for the hero.
Johnson’s potential involvement indicates that we’re less likely to get a high-minded look at the duality of beast and man, the illusion of personal identity and the ethics of man’s interference with nature and more likely to get a lot of big explosions and kinetic action sequences. And you know what? I’m cool with that.
After all, the previous attempt to bring The Island of Doctor Moreau to the screen in 1996 is considered one of the most disastrous productions of the modern era. Director Richard Stanley (who’s just made a big comeback with Color out of Space) was fired from the movie, only to sneak back onto the set disguised as a dog-man extra. The film was also bedeviled by star Val Kilmer behaving terribly and Marlon Brando’s increasingly bizarre behaviour in the wake of his daughter’s suicide. The finished product is not good, but it’s at least not boring, either. There’s also an excellent documentary about the making of the 1996 pic.
Even so, more than two decades on from that film’s release, it’s still a byword for a cinematic flop, so Sony Pictures are certainly brave for attempting to resurrect The Island of Doctor Moreau.