Months after Universal successfully relaunched its monster universe with Elisabeth Moss’s “The Invisible Man,” the studio is pushing ahead for “Wolfman” — which is being developed as a starring vehicle for Ryan Gosling — to be the next movie based on its catalog of iconic creatures.
Sources tell Variety that executives at Universal have been meeting with directors over the past month and could be making a decision soon on who will take the reins behind the camera. While there is no frontrunner at the time, Cory Finley, who recently received rave reviews for directing HBO’s drama “Bad Education” with Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, is said to be in the mix for the job.
Universal and CAA had no comment.
It’s unknown what the new take on “Wolfman” will look like, though it is believed to be set in present times and in the vein of Jake Gyllenhaal’s thriller “Nightcrawler,” with an obvious supernatural twist.
Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, who wrote for Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” penned the script, which is based on an original pitch by Gosling.
Gosling’s take fell in line with the studio’s new vision for its monster movies. Universal had originally planned on creating an interconnected universe with its vast catalog of monster IP. However, the studio reassessed after “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise misfired, and decided to move forward with filmmaker-driven projects based on the monsters’ legacies, focusing on what made the characters endure over time. Instead of prescribing a mandate that the films be part of a larger scheme, Universal loosened those restrictions and open-sourced to filmmakers to create their own unique stories.
Everyone from James Wan to Paul Feig and John Krasinski has given pitches on the characters they would love to tackle. Each of those films are in various stages of development, with many that are just pitches still seeking writers. But studio insiders have stressed that by loosening the universe restrictions, it allows for more opportunities to present themselves and the hope of the next monster movie having similar results as “The Invisible Man.” “The Invisible Man” cost $7 million to make, and earned $122 million at the box office before movie theaters were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Timing for “Wolfman” is also in question. While it seems to be in good position to get off the ground, an exact production start date is still up in the air. Besides the fact that Gosling himself would have to close a deal to star, he is also currently set to lead an untitled astronaut film at MGM. That movie, an adaptation of “The Martian” author Andy Weir’s upcoming novel, recently hired Phil Lord and Chris Miller to direct. By all accounts, that seems to Gosling’s next project.