The last time Universal attempted to reboot their classic monsters, the entire experiment was virtually dead by the time the credits rolled on their first project. This time, the opposite looks to be true, with Blumhouse and Saw co-creator Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man set to top the box office this weekend in the wake of incredibly strong reviews, setting the Universal Monsters up for a true return to form.
Treating the characters as the stars of mega-budget action blockbusters was never the best idea, and the fact that The Invisible Man is set to earn almost three times its production budget back in the space of three days in theaters only hammers that point home. The studio’s new focus is to make smaller, filmmaker and actor-driven projects that approach these enduring horror icons in fresh and interesting ways, and there’s plenty more on the horizon.
As well as the likes of Paul Feig’s Dark Army and Elizabeth Banks’ The Invisible Woman, we’ve also reported recently that Universal are eying Benedict Cumberbatch to play Dracula in Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher’s Renfield spinoff, and that Ryan Gosling is at the top of their wish list to headline another creature feature, which could turn out to be the latest version of The Mummy.
Now, we’re hearing that Universal are moving full steam ahead on a new standalone Frankenstein movie, and that they want Tom Hardy to play the titular monster. Assembling the likes of Hardy, Cumberbatch and Gosling would be a huge statement of intent from the studio, as all three are critically-acclaimed actors that tend to be very picky about what projects they want to sign up for.
According to our intel – which comes from the same sources who said Lethal Weapon 5 was back in the early stages of development with Gibson and Glover, which we now know to be true, and who told us about Han’s return to the Fast & Furious franchise back in the summer – the proposed Hardy-led Frankenstein is said to be a faithful adaptation of the original novel, as well as a straight-up horror movie. Which sounds pretty good to us.
Tom Hardy is without a doubt one of the best actors working today, and very rarely puts in a bad performance. Frankenstein is the type of tortured soul that could bring out the best in him, too, and if Universal can convince the 42 year-old to sign on the dotted line, then the movie will instantly shoot up to the top of many people’s must-see lists.