Following the release of The Mummy trailer, director Alex Kurtzman has shared some unique details about the upcoming reboot. For one thing, this film will serve as the starting point for 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.
Interestingly, this universe was originally set to begin back in 2014 with Dracula Untold, but poor reviews forced Universal to rethink their plan. Speaking with Collider, Kurtzman opened up about The Mummy and the studio's future plans for this new cinematic universe.
"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."
He then went on to discuss the importance of history in films like The Mummy.
"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."
He then revealed why the studio decided to bring in the character of Dr. Jekyll.
"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 would go on to discuss one of the next projects in this shared movie universe, Creature From The Black Lagoon. Originally released in 1954 from director Jack Arnold, the film followed a team of scientists who were terrorized by a prehistoric gill-man while traversing the Amazon river in search of fossils that proved the existence of a missing link.
"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."
Sounds good to us! And given that Creature From The Black Lagoon is our absolute favorite out of all those classic monster movies, we can't wait to see how he's updated for a new generation of fans!
Oh yeah, Kurtzman was also asked if Dracula Untold is actually part of this new monster movie universe, to which he simply responded:
Universal's Monster Movie Universe kicks off with The Mummy on June 9th.
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