As Universal attempts to breathe life back into its classic movie monsters, The Tracking Board reports that Avengers: Age of Ultron star Scarlett Johansson is the studio’s top choice to star in a Creature from the Black Lagoon remake.
No details yet on which role Johansson, one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actresses, would take on, but Jack Arnold’s 1954 original starred Julia Adams as the imperiled female lead, so it’s possible that she could be enlisted for a similar ‘scream queen’ role. The first Creature from the Black Lagoon focused on a group of scientists who, while exploring the Amazon, discovered a dangerous prehistoric creature that was part human and part fish.
The new pic will be part of Univeral’s inchoate Universal Monsters brand, which kicked off last fall with Dracula Untold. Though that Luke Evans historical epic was weakly reviewed, it proved a box office success, grossing over $215 million worldwide against a $70 million budget and also bringing the Count into the modern day. Whether that film’s large take will convince execs to boost the budget for Creature from the Black Lagoon remains to be seen, though such a hike might be necessary if the studio is to afford an actress of Johansson’s stature.
The star would certainly be a casting coup for Universal. After toplining Lucy, she’s come into her own as a solo box office draw, and with Avengers, Captain America: Civil War and Ghost in the Shell all in the pipeline, Johansson unquestionably has her pick of roles for at least the next five years.
Whether the Creature from the Black Lagoon hits theaters soon also rides on the success of Universal’s next monster movie – Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy, which has been set for June 24th, 2016. Unlike Dracula Untold, that title is rumored to be set in the present day, which will allow the studio to more effectively establish a working cinematic universe for its monsters. The Creature from the Black Lagoon has never been a part of a shared monster universe for the studio, so Universal may be planning to hold off on it until the heavy hitters like Dracula, the Mummy and possibly the Wolfman (who previously intermingled in 1940s pics like Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, House Of Frankenstein, House Of Dracula and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein) are introduced.
According to The Tracking Board, Gary Ross, Robin Bissell, Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce the Creature from the Black Lagoon remake, working from a screenplay by Jeff Blitz, Gary Ross, Tedi Sarafian and Paul Schering.
Source: The Tracking Board