It’s rare that a studio trusts unknown talent with work on a major tentpole, as happened a few years ago when screenwriter Jon Spaihts was plucked straight off the Black List with no produced credits and handed Prometheus. Now it’s happening again as Deadline is reporting that Universal has tapped hot scribe Jay Basu with helping to resurrect their classic monster franchises.
Having made a name for himself on the Brit List (the UK equivalent to our Black List) of unproduced screenplays, Englishman Basu carved a reputation as a highly-commercial voice with scripts like GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm), a dark crime thriller set in the porn world based on the obscure ’80s novel by Ted Lewis (“Get Carter”) that currently has Pete Travis (Dredd) lined up to direct. Basu also has a co-writing credit on the sequel Monsters: Dark Continent, which will drop next year. The little-seen found footage B-movie The Dinosaur Project only helps bolster Basu’s affinity for creature features, but there’s no denying that the writer must have serious chops to have landed the deal at Universal.
Basu was handpicked by Alex Kurtzman (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Chris Morgan (the Fast & Furious franchise), who are currently spearheading efforts towards building a shared universe at the studio revolving around the likes of Dracula, The Mummy and Frankenstein. The films will focus less on horror and more on action-adventure.
Universal’s first feature out of the gate, Dracula Untold, received a lukewarm response but performed admirably at the overseas box office. While there’s no indication on which monster Basu will revise for modern sensibilities first, Kurtzman is already set to direct The Mummy from a screenplay by… Jon Spaihts. That movie will be released on June 24, 2016, followed by a currently unknown property on April 21, 2017.