Since interconnected film universes are all the rage these days, Universal has been attempting to join the fray with an shared universe of their classic monsters. Now it looks like one of those planned films, the Mummy reboot, may have a gender swap of the title character. The Hollywood Reporter has the following to say about the news:
“In the 1932 original and the 1999 remake, the monster was male, played by Boris Karloff and Arnold Vosloo, respectively. Sources say the gender of the monster in the new film, which is set in the modern day, likely will depend on casting, expected to happen in the next couple of months. There are two story options — one that would feature a female monster, and one that would feature a male.
Universal’s The Mummy is planned as the first film in a series of interconnected monster films as Universal hopes to build a franchise out of its vault of classic movies. Other potential films revolve around the characters of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Frankenstein and vampire hunter Van Helsing.”
Two things to note in that announcement by THR (and how it’s been reported elsewhere online). Firstly, this Mummy reboot is referred to as the first film in this planned interconnected universe, but my understanding was that Dracula Untold was intended to be apart of this shared film world. That film, starring Luke Evans, performed poorly at the box office but was entertaining and presented a unique take on the origin of the character. Luke Evans is a solid leading man and i was curious to see that version of Dracula play in the same sandbox as new interpretations of Universal’s other monsters.
Secondly, there was talk during the summer of a Creature From the Black Lagoon remake in the works with Scarlett Johansson being pursued to star. I assume if Universal makes that picture is would also be included as part of this shared universe, but the title was not included in the announcement above.
It’s impossible to mention this announcement without discussing the idea of gender-swapping the lead role. Recently there have been a few cases where male roles have been changed to suit a female lead. Salt was originally supposed to be a male lead before Angelina Jolie got the part and just yesterday I wrote a post about Charlize Theron getting the lead in The Gray Man (a male role in the novel). Why is this significant? For years Hollywood has been a male-centric medium where men get the juicier parts and the bigger paychecks. This past week Jennifer Lawrence (possibly today’s most bankable female star) wrote an open letter decrying the wage gap in Hollywood. The problem is that this won’t change as long as all the most high profile parts are men. A studio is willing to pay people more money because they believe having that actor’s name attached to the movie will bring in a bigger audience. The easiest example to look at is Robert Downey, Jr. with his bloated Marvel contracts. Marvel believes having Downey/Tony Stark in their films will make more money and they’re probably right. What female roles can you say the same about… probably just Lawrence in the Hunger Games franchise and she was the highest paid actress as a result. I know I’m swimming in dangerous waters with this statement, but I feel that the part and the bankability of the star should be paid what they’re worth and not a blanket statement of women and men should get equal pay. The argument should be that there aren’t enough high profile parts for women in Hollywood to play. These changes of high profile roles from men to female characters is a step in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go.
Sorry for that tirade. What are your thoughts on potentially changing the Mummy in the latest reboot to a woman? Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on women’s role and the wage gap argument as well. The remake will be directed by Alex Kurtzman from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts for a March 24, 2017 release date. I’ll provide additional information about the Mummy and the other Universal monster films in production as soon as I hear anything.