Ryan Gosling is attached to star in a reboot of ‘The Wolfman’ for Universal Pictures, the studio that is steadily revisiting its classic movie monsters in new ways. The most recent stab, ‘The Invisible Man’, directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Elisabeth Moss and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, was a breakout hit just before COVID-19 quarantines went into effect. It made $29 million on its opening weekend, on a meager budget of $7 million, so it was immediately in the black, and continued to take in more money as a PVOD release and has since been released on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The new ‘Wolfman’ picture is based on a pitch from Gosling himself, and the screenplay will be written by ‘Orange is the New Black’s Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo. It is unclear at this time if this is another low-budget interpretation or if Universal will take a splashier approach. But the studio’s last attempt at ‘The Wolfman’ in 2010, was made on a budget of $150 million and only made $142 million at the global box office. Joe Johnston helmed that version, with a cast that included Benicio del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving.
No director is attached to Gosling’s version, but reportedly Universal is meeting with several, and it is known that among them is Cory Finley. Though he is not considered a frontrunner, Variety states that he has met with the studio. Finley previously helmed the 2017 theatrical film ‘Thoroughbreds’ and the recent HBO movie ‘Bad Education’. Beyond that Variety stated that the movie will be set in the present (like ‘Invisible Man’) and it cited the 2014 Dan Gilroy picture ‘Nightcrawler’, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal, as a comparison.
After the failure of 2017’s ‘The Mummy’, Universal scrapped plans for a shared universe– the Dark Universe– of big-budget action movies based on its various monster properties. In various stages of development are ‘Dark Army’, an action-comedy to be directed by Paul Feig; ‘The Invisible Woman’, a remake of a 1940 “screwball comedy” to be produced, directed by, and starring Elizabeth Banks; and ‘The Monster Mash’, a full-blown musical based on the novelty hit by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, to be directed by Matt Stawski, and written by Will Widger. ‘The Invisible Man’ originated at the low-budget horror studio Blumhouse, who have announced plans to remake ‘Dracula’, but Universal may or may not end up distributing that. Karyn Kusama is attached to direct.
Gosling is also set to star in the upcoming film ‘The Hail Mary’ based on an upcoming novel from ‘The Martian’s Andy Weir.
The first and perhaps most famous ‘Wolfman’ from Universal was released in 1941 with Lon Chaney Jr. in the titular role of Larry Talbot. The picture also featured appearances by other Universal monster stars Claude Raines (best known as The Invisible Man, portraying Sir John Talbot here) and Bela Lugosi (‘Dracula’, as a gypsy also named Bela).
Prior to ‘The Wolfman’, Universal had released ‘Werewolf of London’ in 1935. Chaney’s Talbot returned in 1943’s ‘Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man’, 1945’s ‘House of Dracula’, and 1948’s ‘Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein’.
Though not a Universal film, the 1987 TriStar Pictures release ‘The Monster Squad’ featured Jonathan Gries as a similarly tormented werewolf, who it was established had “nards.”
There had been plans for a ‘Wolfman’ movie in the Dark Universe, although no director was ever attached. One version of the script was by Aaron Guzikowski, with David Callaham brought in later to rewrite it. There had been some buzz that the studio hoped to land Dwayne Johnson as the star.
Are you interested in seeing a new take on ‘The Wolfman’ starring Ryan Gosling?