Now that Universal has gotten that whole Dark Universe thing out of its system, it appears to be on the right track with how it wants to handle updating its Universal Classic Monster movies for a new generation. Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man was a critical and commercial success, Karyn Kusama is working on a Dracula movie for Blumhouse, and Dexter Fletcher has a Renfield movie in development.
The next monster up is the Wolfman, and Universal has already found its titular star. Variety reports that Ryan Gosling will be taking on the role. Sources have told Variety that even with the other projects in development, Wolfman is the next project Universal is focusing on, with the studio actively searching for a director. There is no clear frontrunner for the job, but Universal is reportedly looking to make a decision soon and Cory Finley, who recently earned solid praise for his work on Bad Education for HBO, is one of the names they’re looking at.
We know virtually nothing of the story yet, but here’s the part that made me perk up: Variety said the film is “believed to be set in present times and in the vein of Jake Gyllenhaal’s thriller Nightcrawler, with an obvious supernatural twist.”
Okay. That got my attention. 2014’s Nightcrawler is an excellent, excellent film. But that tiny nugget is tantalizing. Does it mean that Wolfman will be tonally like Nightcrawler? Or that Gosling’s man-turned-wolfman will be a seedy and morally questionable tabloid reporter type? The possibilities are numerous and all of them intriguing.
Whatever the story, the script is reportedly done, written by Orange Is the New Black‘s Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo and based on an original pitch from Gosling, which in and of itself is interesting. Apparently, his vision was in lockstep with Universal’s new approach to take writer- and director-driven visions, opening them up to pitches from a number of people from James Wan to John Krasinski to Paul Feig. It appears whatever they saw in Gosling’s pitch was good enough to leapfrog past the rest and be put on the fast track to production. It appears to be a toss-up at this point as to whether Wolfman or the untitled Andy Weir novel movie adaptation with MGM will shoot first.
Count this as a project we’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on.