January 9, 2019
Dark Universe Architect Alex Kurtzman Says Making ‘The Mummy’ Was Just As Painful As Watching It
Like a freshly-turned vampire immediately stumbling out into the sun, Dark Universe died before it could really get started. Universal had hoped to launch their own cinematic universe based around their classic monsters, but the first entry – The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise – was a complete dud. Afterwards, future Dark Universe projects were put on hold, and it seems like the idea is – for the time being – dead and buried.
Now, Alex Kurtzman, who oversaw the Dark Universe writers room and directed The Mummy, is opening up about the fiasco, and confirms he definitely has nothing to do with the Dark Universe anymore. See Kurtzman’s explanation about what happened to the Dark Universe below,
I have a soft spot for the Dark Universe. There’s just something very amusing to me about Universal Pictures going all-out to create their own cinematic universe, and having it fail immediately. Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan were hired to oversee a writers room for interconnected films like The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and more. Even though The Mummy was the only one of these movies to ever see the light of day, Universal released a pieced-together “cast photo” that had Johnny Depp’s and Javier Bardem standing alongside The Mummy‘s Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe and Sofia Boutella – even though neither Depp nor Bardem filmed a single frame for any Dark Universe project.
After The Mummy failed to attract the kind of reaction Universal was hoping for, the next Dark Universe project, The Bride of Frankenstein, was shut down just as pre-production was about to begin. Now it looks like the Dark Universe is truly dead, and not even a jolt of electricity will be able to resurrect it. Kurtzman, who directed The Mummy, recently gave a THR interview in which he looked back on his Dark Universe experience.
“The Mummy wasn’t what I wanted it to be,” Kurtzman said, adding that he was no longer involved with the Dark Universe, and that he has “no idea what’s going on with it.” News that Kurtzman and Morgan were moving on broke in November of 2017, and there have been no updates since. Kurtzman went on to add:
“I look back on it now [and] what felt painful at the time ended up being an incredible blessing for me. I learned that I need to follow my own instincts, and when I can’t fully do that, I don’t think I can succeed. Those films are beautiful because the monsters are broken characters, and we see ourselves in them. I hope those are the movies that they make; I want to see them.”
Kurtzman’s statement about the original Universal Monsters movies working because the monsters were “broken characters” is spot-on, and proves that he probably could’ve delivered a much better movie if the production hadn’t run into so much trouble – reports indicate that when Tom Cruise was cast, he had the script significantly re-worked to make the movie more action-driven. If Universal ever attempts to bring back the Dark Universe, I hope they learn from their mistake, and try to make character-driven horror movies instead of big summer blockbusters.
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