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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Culture shock: casting the Universal monsters

It’s fall again, and that can only mean one thing: monster movies. The “Universal Monsters,” the classic cast of horror characters featured in Universal Studios films from the 1930s to 1950s, are set to be revived in the coming years. 2017 will boast a Tom Cruise-led “Mummy” remake, 2018 will feature Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man, and as rumors have it, soon Scarlett Johannsson will portray the lead in a “Creature from the Black Lagoon” reboot.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my own choices to play the next batch of classic monsters:

1. Benedict Cumberbatch as Dracula

The “Sherlock” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness” actor would fit well as one of the most popular characters in fiction. Originally played by Bela Lugosi, the King of Vampires is meant to be cunning yet charming, a quality that fans know Cumberbatch is more than capable of embodying.

Bonus: Hayley Atwell as Mina Harker

The “Agent Peggy Carter” actress would be terrific as Dracula’s fragile, yet clever prey.

2. Idris Elba as Lawrence Talbot/The Wolfman

The Golden Globe-winning headliner of “Luther” and “Beasts of No Nation” would put quite a convincing spin on the sophisticated and savage Talbot. The underperformance of the film’s 2010 reboot starring Benecio del Toro may cause Universal to opt for a new take on the classic monster in the near future.

Bonus: Renèe Elise Goldsberry as Gwen Conliffe

Gwen’s character is a blank slate with no set backstory, but the versatile and Tony-winning actress from Hamilton could nail whatever direction the writers wanted to take with her in the revival.

3. Hugh Jackman as Erik/The Phantom of the Opera

One of the oldest of the Universal Mon

sters dates back to the silent film era. The Phantom of the Opera would be best portrayed by Jackman. His roles on Broadway and in “Les Misérables” have proven him to be a capable singer worthy of the character’s legendary voice. Having spent time in the makeup chair for the “X-Men” films, Jackman would have no problem sporting the grotesque makeup necessary for the Phantom’s disfigured face.

Bonus: Anna Kendrick as Christine Daaè

Academy Award nominee Kendrick has already shown off her singing chops in “Pitch Perfect” and “Into the Woods,” and would be a perfect match for the angel-voiced Christine.

4. Michael Fassbender as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde

The Robert Louis Stevenson characters Jekyll and Hyde, embodied in a 1931 Oscar-winning performance by Friedrich March, would be the perfect role for screen star Fassbender. The actor has experience portraying duality in his role as a young Magneto in the later incarnations of the “X-Men” franchise. Additionally, Fassbender has worked with special effects as the star of “Prometheus” and would likely have no issues with the effects required to become the evil Edward Hyde.

Bonus: Michelle Dockery as Emma Carew

“Downton Abbey”’s Lady Mary Crawley would fit the bill as innocent gentlewoman Emma.

5. Ron Perlman as Frankenstein’s Monster

The most famous of the Universal Monsters, originally brought to life by Boris Karloff, would be best revived by Perlman. Best known for roles requiring heavy makeup, including the protagonists in “Hellboy” and “Beauty and the Beast,” Perlman is one of today’s best physical-action-required actors. Like “the Creature,” he can easily express emotions using only face and body movements.

Bonus: Robert Englund as Dr. Frankenstein

Who better to play the famous monster maker than one of the greatest horror icons of the past 30 years? Englund famously portrayed Freddy Krueger in the classic “Nightmare on Elm Street” saga, and his return to the horror movie screen years later would act as a “passing of the torch” to a new horror film generation.

Bonus No. 2: Depp/Englund film crossovers

Since Johnny Depp is favored to play the title character in “The Invisible Man,” why not have his character meet and murder Dr. Frankenstein in the film’s remake? It would be a perfect payback role for Depp, who played one of Englund’s victims in the first “Nightmare on Elm Street.”

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