Universal Monsters Reboots Will Have Horror, According to ‘The Mummy’ Director Alex Kurtzman
Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan are heading the brain trust for Universal’s reboot of its classic monsters properties. Kurtzman is directing The Mummy, which will kick off the new, connected universe of films, but previous reports indicated that Universal was going for more of an action-adventure approach with the franchise instead of honoring their classic horror origins. Not so fast, says Kurtzman, who assures fans that these films will definitely have some horror to them.
Collider caught up with Kurtzman, who was on hand at the TCA press tour to promote the new Limitless TV series, for which he serves as producer. First up, Kurtzman says things are going well in the monsters universe, and they’ll have some official announcements soon:
The monster universe is coming together very very quickly, we’re very excited. There will be announcements soon. We have actually started doing a lot of design work, we’re getting scripts in, everything is feeling really really good, so I don’t want to curse it by saying too much to you, but it’s going well.
Kurtzman and Morgan (the Fast and Furious franchise) are heading up a writers room that includes Noah Hawley (Fargo), Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners) and Ed Solomon (Now You See Me) — the brain trust approach is an interesting concept, and one that’s being similarly utilized by Paramount for the Transformers franchise. It’s an approach clearly inspired by television, which Kurtzman notes:
Coming out of television and having come out of writers rooms, the thing that I got out of it, and that I learned so much from the experience of being in the writers room, is that there’s always sort of one or two singular voices to the show, but it’s great when you have a group of writers who are talented in their own right coming together to build a world. We very carefully selected writers who — each of them have their own incredible careers. All of them we admire hugely. Chris Morgan is my partner in this and we all picked people that we’ve worked with before, people that we really liked, people whose work we admired, people that we didn’t know, and really thought long and hard about which writers felt right for each monster. So our goal is to have each movie retain the identity and the individuality of the specific monster, but you’ll see how they start to fit into a larger universe as the movies unravel.
Finally, Kurtzman understands why there was some backlash a few months back, when it was reported that the new films would have an action-adventure tone instead of horror. He goes on to promise that there will definitely be some horror in this new universe:
Yeah, I think it’s a fair response and it’s actually not — I think there was some lost in translation quality to the way it was received, because I promise you there will be horror in these movies. It is our life goal to make a horror movie. The tricky part is actually how you combine horror with either adventure or suspense or action and be true to all the genres together. In some way, Mummy, dating all the way back to the Karloff movie, was the first to do that. It was the first to combine horror with — I wouldn’t say action, but certainly a lot of suspense. So it’s more about how you blend the different elements and stay true to each one, but there will definitely be horror in the monster movies…We will hopefully serve it up good and plenty.
Kurtzman’s reboot of The Mummy was recently pushed back from June 2016 to March 24, 2017.