Universal want Channing Tatum as the Dark Universe's Van Helsing

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Channing Tatum may be set to fill Hugh Jackman’s boots as the new Van Helsing (Credit: WENN, Universal)

Is Channing Tatum set to take on the role of the most famous monster hunter of them all?

Universal’s Dark Universe, a new series of interconnected films based around the studio’s vintage monster movie properties, didn’t necessarily get off to the smoothest start with this summer’s ‘The Mummy.’ The Tom Cruise vehicle was savaged by critics, and proved only a modest box office success ($390 million worldwide to date).

However, this does not appear to have deterred Universal from pushing ahead – and according to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is currently ‘polishing the script’ for a reboot of ‘Van Helsing.’ And it seems Channing Tatum is the actor they want for the lead.

The arch enemy of the master vampire in Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula,’ Van Helsing has always been a staple character in ‘Dracula’ movies. Edward Van Sloan played the role opposite Bela Lugosi in Universal’s 1931 film, and since then actors to have played the role include Peter Cushing, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Plummer.

Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale in 2004’s ‘Van Helsing’ (credit: Universal)

Universal first gave the character his own movie in 2004’s ‘Van Helsing’ from writer-director Stephen Sommers, which cast Hugh Jackman as a younger, more athletic take on the vampire hunter. And if they’re after Tatum for the role, it seems safe to assume this reboot will be taking a similar approach.

Universal’s designs on Tatum again underline how the studio is targeting big name stars for their Dark Universe franchise. Following Cruise and Russell Crowe’s casting in ‘The Mummy’ (in roles which both actors are expected to reprise in future films), the next Dark Universe title ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ from director Bill Condon is set to star Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster, and THR say the studio are ‘prepping an offer to Angelina Jolie’ for the title role.

Dark… Universal’s new stars are introduced for their new monster movie franchise – Credit: Universal

Johnny Depp is also attached to appear (or not) in a new take on ‘The Invisible Man,’ and the studio also have reboots of ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ in the pipeline.

The only other things we known for sure about the new ‘Van Helsing’ movie are that Dan Mazeau has written the screenplay from a story by Jon Spaihts and Eric Heisserer, and that Alex Kurtzman – director of ‘The Mummy,’ and figurehead of the Dark Universe franchise – will produce alongside Roberto Orci and Chris Morgan.

No director or release date has been announced, nor is Channing Tatum’s casting in any way confirmed at present.

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