Behold, for your viewing pleasure: a photo of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe looking at one another.
Have you seen The Mummy trailer yet? Looks pretty cool, right? Tom Cruise seemingly comes back from the dead after a plane crash and has to stop an evil mummy princess from burying the world’s iconic landmarks in sand. We even mashed the trailer up with Mission: Impossible and created the Ultimate Tom Cruise Movie Crossover. But the only thing better than a movie trailer is a fabulously glitchy movie trailer, and Universal unwittingly gifted us with one last night, in the form of The Mummy, feat. Tom Cruise Screaming.
The first trailer for The Mummy hit the internet last night, and it left us with a lot of questions about Alex Kurtzman’s new action-horror flick, such as: Has Tom Cruise always shouted “whoa!” like an early ’90s teen TV character, or are we just now noticing it? (It’s delightful, by the way.) Is Kurtzman a fan of Queen of the Damned? (This seems implied by Sofia Boutella’s titular villain, but ya never know.) And chiefly — inspired by the brief cameo from Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll — how will Kurtzman’s film pave the way for his larger monster movie universe?
Here is the mathematical formula to create a Tom Cruise Movie™.
Every year, when the bottom drops out of the summer movie season and audiences decide to stay home and watch television instead, some well-meaning critic will publish an article asking if cinema is dead. And every year, I pose the same question in response: “Is Tom Cruise still an action star?” As long as Tom Cruise is running across multiplex screens — fighting rogue nations, government consiparcies, and even the occasional mummy — there is still hope for cinema. Then, when Cruise’s career is done and Hollywood is in ashes, then, cinema, you have my permission to die.
Universal’s grand plan for world domination, or at least an intertextually connected universe of highly profitable event films, has been put in motion. Their Dracula Untold laid the groundwork by introducing fiction’s most famous vampire into the mix, solo projects for Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man, and monster hunter Van Helsing have all been established, and now The Mummy, the first piece of the puzzle (let’s do Universal a service and call Dracula Untold a warm-up, they can take a mulligan on that one), is set to be unveiled.
Since screenwriters are often the most overlooked part of any Hollywood production, you probably aren’t familiar with the name Jon Spaihts, but odds are good that you have pretty strong feelings about his work. Spaihts broke onto the scene back in 2007 when his script for Passengers was named to that year’s Black List; while that film is just now finding its way into theaters, Spaihts is also one of the writers behind Doctor Strange, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus series, and the upcoming cinematic universe of monsters at Universal Pictures. In other words, Spaihts is a name to remember.
Listen, I won’t pretend to know whether I’m supposed to be excited about the new Universal Studios monster movies or not. Like most of you, I do get a little bit of a headache every time a studio boss utters the words “shared universe,” but no matter how cynicism I try and muster for the new Tom Cruise remake of The Mummy, I just can’t. It has Tom Cruise! Running around London! Fighting a gosh-darn mummy! Yeah, that’s right, I’m an easy mark.
It’s hard to know what to expect from Universal’s ambitious new monster movie franchise, which will reboot many of the studio’s iconic boogeymen in one shared universe of films. And we probably won’t have a decent idea about what the studio is up to until next summer, when The Mummy hits theaters. But thanks to Russell Crowe, we have some indication of what Alex Kurtzman is planning for his reboot, which also stars Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella.
Just yesterday we learned that Russell Crowe is in talks to play Dr. Jekyll opposite Tom Cruise in The Mummy, and while Universal has yet to confirm that casting, they have released the first official synopsis for the reboot. The plot description makes some hefty promises for Alex Kurtzman’s directorial debut, which is meant to kickstart a new shared universe of action-packed horror movies based on the studio’s classic monsters.