Universal's Classic Monster Universe Takes Shape With 'Fargo' and 'Prisoners' Writers
Noah Hawley, the creator of the Fargo television series, Aaron Guzikowski, the scribe behind the gritty Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal movie Prisoners, and Ed Solomon, the veteran screenwriter behind Men in Black and Now You See Me, have joined Chris Morgan and Alex Kurtzman to act as a writers collective for Universal Studios' cinematic monster universe.
The plan is for these "Monster Men" to act akin to Pixar's brain trust, or more aptly, like a well-oiled television writers room, where all will have a hand in each other's movies and offer help as needed as they work on a model of serialized storytelling.
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As part of the move, Guzikowski will take the lead writing The Wolfman, a new take on the classic werewolf tale that will hopefully relaunch a franchise and also weave in with the movies of the other monster characters. Hawley and Solomon have yet to take point on projects as the plan is still unfolding.
Morgan and Kurtzman, notable scribes in their own right, are producing the monster movies.
The Mummy will be the first movie out of the monster universe gate, with Kurtzman behind the camera and a June 24, 2015, release date. Other planned movies revolve around the characters of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Frankenstein and vampire hunter Van Helsing.
It’s not clear what the order for the movies will be nor what stages of development the projects are in, although Universal has staked out Friday, April 21, 2017, for its second monster franchise film.
Wolfman is one of the studio’s legacy characters. His first screen appearance was in 1941’s The Wolf Man, directed by George Waggner with Lon Chaney Jr. as the man who is cursed to howl at the full moon and Claude Rains as his father.
Several lesser movies followed. The character made a splashy return in 2010 with Benicio Del Toro in the title role, Emily Blunt as his love interest and Anthony Hopkins as his father. The pricey picture was plagued with production problems and whined its way to only $61 million domestically.
Plot details for the revamp are being kept locked in a kennel.
Guzikowski also wrote Contraband, the hit action movie starring Mark Wahlberg that Universal distributed. He is in production of season two of his Sundance channel show The Red Road, which stars Jason Momoa.
He is repped by Verve, Madhouse Entertainment and McKuin Frankel.
by Graeme McMillan
by Richard Newby