Universal’s classic monsters cinematic initiative kicks off with “The Mummy” this Summer and sets off a chain of projects including the “Van Helsing” movie penned by Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”) and Jon Spaihts (“Passengers”).
Heisserer spoke with Collider this week and was asked about his approach to the material which will take on more of a horror tone than the more action-adventure stylings of the Hugh Jackman-led film about the vampire hunter character:
“I don’t know what it’s going to look like at the end of the process, so I’m gonna withhold on commenting on really where it lands. I can say that my intent stepping in was to make it as scary as possible, partly because I know how to do that, and also because when you’re the only human surrounded by a bunch of supernatural creatures, that’s gotta be absolutely unnerving.”
Heisserer also spoke about the writers room approach to this cinematic universe. Headed up by Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the group included the likes of Noah Hawley, Aaron Guzikowski, Ed Solomon and Jay Basu who all met a while back to make plans for the multiple films. Heisserer was asked if these writers had a specific franchise in mind they had want to tackle before they held that meeting. It seems not:
“We all came in without putting a flag down on any of those certain monsters or films, just talking about how we saw the world working and what we wanted to explore. Sometimes we’d talk about themes, and Jon and I just found ourselves kind of on the same page in terms of what we wanted to see Van Helsing explore. It was a natural team-up, I think. It was just a conclusion that we all reached around the table that he and I would work on that together.”
One thing he wants to do with the film is shift the protagonist back to being a much more human hero than we see these days, a cinema where superheroes and magically powered types rule the box-office:
“I can talk about my emotional state of what I’ve been passionate about or sometimes frustrated by are the number of films where we find an extraordinary character with superhuman abilities that becomes a hero to solve a problem that a normal person cannot solve. And I was eager to try and buck that trend and showcase someone who had no extraordinary powers, just resourcefulness and will and kind of a stubbornness who’s able to tackle some of these bigger problems. Because I don’t like the idea that we’re infusing our public and our pop culture with the idea that only super people can solve the world’s problems. I like the idea of the everyday hero stepping up to the plate and getting things fixed.”
The new films are set in the contemporary day and “Van Helsing” has yet to set a release date.