Following the first trailer for the Tom Cruise flick, The Mummy, Alex Kurtzman, has revealed some unique details regarding the new movie. The reboot of the 1999 hit starring Brendan Fraser, is set to arrive in theatres next summer. The movie is also set to start the Universal Monster Universe, a shared cinematic home for classic characters like The Mummy, Creature Of The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man and The Wolf Man. The universe was set to begin back in 2014 with the Luke Evans starring Dracula Untold. Despite the movie’s (modest) success at the box office, the poor reviews led Universal to rethink their plan, beginning the universe next summer with The Mummy, and with a bigger actor, Tom Cruise.
In a new interview with the reboot’s director, Alex Kurtzman, who you would know from Transformers and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Kurtzman discusses the upcoming film as well as the future universe. Kurtzman begun discussing some inspirations behind his latest movie:
“I feel like what I’m most satisfied by, as a viewer, is feeling like I was let in on a secret that the rest of the world doesn’t know. So The Matrix is a great example, right? At the end of The Matrix no one else knows that they live in The Matrix, because of the adventure in this particular movie, I know the reality of that. That was sort of a good marker for us. I think also the question of how does this movie live in the monsters universe, right? I believe strongly that the only way you can build a universe is not to start by trying to build a universe, that if you want to get there, the only way you’re going to get there is if the audience allows you to get there. Meaning, you have to do great individual films first. The audience has to fall in love with those movies first, and those characters first, and if they do and you develop an organic story reason to start bringing them together, great! But you can’t start with “Let’s just mash everybody together.”
Kurtzman then went on to discuss the importance of history in a blockbuster like The Mummy as well as the how to tackle these “mash ups”:
“The thing people forget is that the Universal Monsters were the first mash-up; they were the first universe built. It started with, I think, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and that was the first time that they put them together and then from there they started cross-pollinating all the monsters. But that was only because Frankenstein had succeeded so many times as a film, and had spawned its own sequels, and Wolf Man had done the same, that Universal was at a point where they said, “God, we don’t know what to do with these characters anymore. Why don’t we put them together?” and then new stories emerged. So I can’t tell you how much I believe that in order for you to enjoy The Mummy, you have to have a satisfying mummy experience. If we are then in that context able to set up a larger world? Great! But the setup of that larger world and whatever characters Tom may meet over the course of the mummy movie have to be part of the mummy movie. It cannot take you out of that.”
One of the movie’s most unique aspects is the inclusion of Henry Jekyll. The classic character, on paper, has no place being in a 2017 blockbuster, but, who the hell cares? When the inclusion sounds so damn cool, I think we can all forgive it:
“In looking to figure out how to place The Mummy in a larger context and setting up this organization that has actually been dealing with monsters for longer than any of us have been around, it became clear that we needed somebody to be the voice of that organization. The next thought was like, “Well, it could be Joe Mcgillicuddy, or we could actually go into another character that makes sense organically.” It was a real point of conversation with Tom. If we’re going to bring in Henry Jekyll, how is bringing Henry Jekyll into the mummy story not a detractor from the mummy story? How does Henry Jekyll become part of this story in an organic way? And part of what Tom’s character, Nick, learns about the mummy and about the history of the mummy comes through Jekyll’s very deep understanding of monsters and how monsters have existing quietly in this world for eons.”
Kurtzman then went on to discuss one of the next projects in the universe; none other than Creature From The Black Lagoon:\
“Okay, well, Creature from the Black Lagoon. I want that to be in the jungle. Okay, we’re in the Amazon. Where do you want to shoot that, on the backlot or in the Amazon? No, we have to actually go there. Okay, if we go there what’s THAT going to…? Well, now you’re talking about a big movie. You know what I mean? And there’s underwater and there’s all the things that you would look for, for something like Creature.”
Finally, when asked if Dracula Untold would be apart of this new universe, Kurtzman shut down that idea rather quickly and simply:
“[On Dracula Untold‘s inclusion] No.”
And there you have it! Of course, this was not too radical to expect, but it is nice to have some confirmation. How do you feel about the upcoming Universal Monster Universe? Are you excited for The Mummy? I, while not too impressed by the trailer, cannot wait.
The Mummy arrives in theatres everywhere June 9, 2017.