It’s official: Russell Crowe will star as Dr Jekyll (and, quite possibly, Mr Hyde?) in Universal’s in-production reboot of ‘The Mummy,’ alongside Tom Cruise.
It was first announced earlier this week that the Oscar-winning actor was in talks to appear in the film, intended as the starting point for Universal’s new Monster Movie universe - and now, the man himself has confirmed it.
Crowe tells Collider, “Yeah, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna play Dr. Henry Jekyll, Fellow of the Royal Society. It’s very interesting, what they’re gonna do with that stuff. I’ve had a couple of chats about it with the director (Alex Kurtzman).”
It’s interesting to note that - while the new Universal movies will revive many of their beloved old monster brands including The Mummy, The Wolfman, Frankenstein and Dracula - Universal never actually made a ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ film in the 1930s or 40s.
However, the story was shot a number of times in the black and white era, with John Barrymore, Frederic March and Spencer Tracy famously playing the lead at different times.
‘The Mummy’ will also mark Crowe’s first time sharing the screen with Cruise, although the actor notes they’ve been friends for many years.
“I’ve known Tom Cruise since 1992, or something like that. When he was married to an Australian, I was really good friends with him. But when he got divorced, I was part of the settlement package, and I went to Nicole [Kidman].”
Given that Universal are kick-starting a new horror universe, it’s not hard to see Crowe’s appearance in ‘The Mummy’ is being along the same lines as the recent roles for Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ - i.e., set-up for future movies.
It’s an idea Crowe seems very much on board with, and he expresses confidence in ‘The Mummy’ director Alex Kurtzman, who is overseeing the new Universal universe:
“He really understands the world and he’s been around a long time, on a lot of big projects. He knows how to get something from an idea on the page onto a soundstage and into a camera.
“Sure, I would imagine he’s scared s***less right about now, and having a hard time sleeping because he’s got ten million things on his mind right now. But when we started talking about this idea, there were a few things I put up in the air and he picked up on them.
“Those kinds of creative collaborative conversations, if they’re explosive like that from the first time you start talking, and somebody says something that goes off in your mind and that bumps up something that you say and that other person bounces off of that, you’re actually in a really good place.
“How they’ve pulled all of this stuff forward into a contemporary world and how they’re building it out from there, and how all of the different character interweave into each other’s stories, it’s fantastic.”
This reboot of ‘The Mummy’ has had a troubled history, as the first two attached directors - ‘Underworld’s Len Wiseman, and ‘Mama’s Andres Muschietti (now set to direct Stephen Kings ‘It’) - both walked over creative differences.
Some fans have also been put off by reports that Universal are aiming to make more of an action-adventure than a horror movie - although Crowe insists the film is “designed to seriously scare the s*** out of you.”
This makes three confirmed Hollywood superstars for Universal’s monster universe, Crowe’s Dr Jekyll joining Cruise as the improbably named Navy SEAL hero Tyler Colt, and Johnny Depp, who is set to play ‘The Invisible Man’ - though there’s no confirmation as to whether he’ll be seen (no pun intended) in ‘The Mummy.’
It is also known that Angelina Jolie has been courted for ‘The Bride of Frankenstein,’ whilst Scarlett Johansson was being eyed for ‘The Creature From The Black Lagoon,’ although there remains no confirmation on the casting of either actress.
‘The Mummy’ is set to hit cinemas in June 2017. Before that, Crowe can next be seen in action comedy ‘The Nice Guys,’ opening in UK cinemas on 3 June.
Picture Credit: WENN, MGM, Universal