While I had Scott Stuber on the phone talking about the debunked The Wolfman rumors (click here to read those quotes), I had to ask him about the other Universal Monsters. Universal tried to bring them back with Van Helsing and we all know how that turned out. What about now?
There was one thing Stuber said that was really interesting to me, and it was in response to a joke question I asked. When I asked if The Wolfman might some day meet Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen, much as he once met Abbott and Costello, he said this:
Weirder things have happened! That’s why these characters are so great, though. That was an interesting time in Hollywood, and now we have a situation where you can have an Avengers movie and you can get different superhero and comic book characters together. They were doing it back then, taking two of the comedians of the time and putting them with the monsters.
Okay, I’m not going to pull some Oh Don Piano here and start reading messages into what Stuber said, but by God wouldn’t it be amazing to live in an age where there weren’t just good Universal Monster movies but Universal Monster crossover movies? That’s definitely on Stuber’s mind, if as a very, very far in the future thought.
Of course, it may be impossible to ever achieve. The Wolfman is rated R, but will the new Frankenstein (which Stuber is developing with Guillermo del Toro) be R as well? If not would Universal want to comingle franchises aimed at very different audiences?
But this is all my nerd dreaming anyway. We have to see how The Wolfman does. The good news, according to Stuber, is that the future of the Universal Monsters is not hanging on this one film.
It’s not contingent on [how the Wolfman does]. The studio is committed to these characters, and while we sometimes classify them as the Monsters as you know the Wolfman is a very different story than the Creature [from the Black Lagoon], which is very different from Frankenstein. They’ve been actively developing all of them. I’ve been working with Guillermo del Toro with Frankenstein and they’ve been working with Gary Ross on Creature from the Black Lagoon, so I think they’ve been trying to very actively get all of these characters up and running.
It seems likely that (spoilers!) The Wolfman will end with poor old Larry Talbot taking a dirtnap – it’s pretty standard procedure, after all. But does that mean the end of The Wolfman series? After all, Talbot kept showing up back in the 40s. Stuber wouldn’t rule it out, but don’t hold your breath.
When you make any film like this you hope the audience likes it enough that they say we love it so much we want to see another iteration of it. We never set out that way, we never said we’re going to make six Wolfman movies. We wanted to make this one really good and honor the classic while updating it for today’s audience. We’re all big fans – the reason we did the film was because we loved the original so much. We wanted to keep it in that realm and there are some nice touches to show that’s how we felt.
I hope The Wolfman works. He’s my favorite of the Universal Monsters, but even beyond that I want to see new life in this brilliant brand. And it makes me happy that Universal is trying to figure out the best way to make each of these creatures work on their own – while maybe keeping an eye towards what could happen if they all met and Hugh Jackman wasn’t involved.