Russell Crowe To Enter The Universal Monster Movie Universe In 'The Mummy'

At one time, it was believed that Dracula Untold would mark the beginning of a Universal movie monster universe, inspired by all the classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Wolfman and more. However, since that movie tanked at the box office, I'm willing to bet it won't be mentioned in Universal's new efforts to make the monster cinematic universe happen.

Instead, Universal is looking to kick off this new shared universe with The Mummy, debuting in the summer of 2017. Tom Cruise is locked in to star in the film, and now one more big name may join the cast: Russell Crowe.

Get details on Russell Crowe joining The Mummy after the jump.

Variety reports the Oscar-winning Gladiator star is in early talks to play a Dr. Jekyll-type role, a character that will first appear in The Mummy with plans to give him his own standalone movie sometime down the road. That likely also means he could pop up in the other Universal monster movies in the works as well.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde never got their own Universal monster movie during the run of the classic films, but he did feature prominently in the horror comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As if the title doesn't give it away, the movie featured the iconic comedy duo encountering the scientist who has multiple personalities, one of them being a dangerous killer.

Variety reporter Justin Kroll revealed on Twitter that the role was originally intended to go to Tom Hardy, but the deal fell apart. Eddie Redmayne and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were also considered, but they didn't work out either. So Russell Crowe has stepped into the role, and aside from Hardy, I think he's the most interesting choice for the part.

Crowe joins a cast that already includes Jake Johnson in an unknown role, Annabelle Wallis in the female lead, and Kingsman: The Secret Service henchwoman Sofia Boutella as a gender-swapped take on the title monster. However, Crowe's role is said to be more of a cameo than a significant role, and some other future characters may also appear in the same capacity.

Chris Morgan and Alex Kurtzman (the latter also directing The Mummy) are overseeing the Universal Monsters universe, with a writers room that includes Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners), Noah Hawley (Fargo), and Ed Solomon (Now You See Me). Confirmed titles so far include The Bride of Frankenstein (written by Guzikowski), The Wolfman (written by David Koepp), Van Helsing and The Invisible Man, the latter of which has Johnny Depp attached to star with a release date set for April 13, 2018. Universal also just set a monster movie for release on February 15, 2019, but we don't know which title will get the slot

Here's hoping that Universal has a solid plan to make this work, otherwise monster movie fans could be getting excited for nothing. The Mummy arrives on June 9, 2017. Stay tuned for more.