EXCLUSIVE: Russell Crowe is poised to join the growing legion of big stars with global brands taking part in Universal Pictures’ classic monsters universe. I’m told that Crowe is in early talks to play a Jekyll-like role opposite Tom Cruise in The Mummy. It is unclear whether this could lead to a future spinoff; right now the discussion is this film. Alex Kurtzman is directing. Jon Spaihts wrote the script and Chris Morgan is overseeing the whole monsters initiative with Kurtzman. Sean Daniel is producing with Morgan and Kurtzman.
Crowe has the commanding presence to play such a role, and these talks take place as the Oscar-winning star prepares for the Cannes premiere of The Nice Guys, the Shane Black-directed drama which also stars Ryan Gosling. The actor recently hosted Saturday Night Live — displaying a rather ribald sense of humor that many might not have known was in his repertoire — and this film would give him a global platform. Universal Pictures has made a big priority of the classic movie monsters for which the studio was best known, at least until Steven Spielberg took up residence on the lot and began making movies with sharks, dinosaurs and homesick aliens.
The studio recently set a June 9, 2017 release date for The Mummy, and the studio has taken out an April 13, 2018 release date for an undisclosed monster film. That might well be The Invisible Man, which Deadline revealed Johnny Depp was poised to play the role originated by Claude Rains. Men In Black scribe Ed Solomon is writing it.
Universal is building a universe of monsters much the way that Marvel and DC are doing with superheroes; it seems inevitable all this will lead to spinoffs involving Dr. Jekyll, as well as potentially Phantom Of The Opera and Creature From The Black Lagoon, all derived from the black-and-white classics.
Crowe is repped by WME.
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