Helmer's attachment fast-tracks Fox pic in race with several Frankensteins

Shawn Levy has signed on to direct the Frankenstein pic at Fox, a significant step with at least a half-dozen other projects based on the classic monster tale in the works.

“Chronicle” scribe Max Landis has been writing a treatment for the studio (Variety, June 22). Fox had been eyeing several high-profile helmers, including Paul Greengrass and David Yates, but Levy (“Night at the Museum,” “Real Steel”) emerged with the gig.

Contract details still need to be worked out, but all sides have agreed that he’ll take on the project, sources said. Davis Entertainment is attached to produce the untitled pic, which Fox will distribute.

Landis’ revisionist Frankenstein has been described as a sci-fi take on the traditional Mary Shelley story, focusing on themes of friendship and redemption.

No production date has been set for any of Hollywood’s numerous Frankenstein projects. Haley Joel Osment was set to star in “Wake the Dead,” a modern-day horror take based on Steven Niles’ graphic novels, which appeared to put the Jay Russell-directed project at Slasher Films out front. (Variety, June 27).

Universal’s 1931 horror classic created the definitive image of Frankenstein’s monster, and the studio is at work on an update with Guillermo del Toro and Scott Stuber attached. Lakeshore Entertainment has tapped Stuart Beattie to write and direct “I, Frankenstein,” a modern spin on the story, and Summit Entertainment is under way on “This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein.”

Fox wants to move quickly on its take, and Levy’s official involvement could fast-track the project ahead of the others.

Other Frankenstein pics in the works include an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s novel “The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein” from Ghost House Pictures and RT Features, and a contemporary take from Columbia Pictures and Matt Tolmach.

Levy, whose 21 Laps banner is based on the Fox lot, is attached to a number of high-profile projects. The helmer is currently moving forward with the Ben Stiller-toplined comedy “Neighborhood Watch” while DreamWorks’ “Real Steel,” starring Hugh Jackman, unspools in October.

Landis has found homes for five projects in the last twelve months, including selling spec script “Good Time Gang” to Robin Schorr’s RCR Pictures in February and penning fantasy thriller “Pied Piper” for Fox.

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