Universal is doubling down on the monster business. The studio has been hard at work setting up their A-list reboots of their classic monster films, starting with the Tom Cruise-led The Mummy, and now they’re setting up a remake of John Landis‘ 1981 horror classic, An American Werewolf in London.
Deadline reports that the studio has set up the remake Landis’ son Max Landis attached to pen the script and direct, and The Walking Dead‘s David Alpert and Robert Kirkman producing via their Skybound Entertainment banner. Per the report, John Landis and original director Anthony Waller have sealed a deal with the studio for the rights while Max Landis’ deal is still being negotiated. Todd Garner (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Matt Smith (Maleficent) are also on board to produce with John Landis executive producing.
The original film followed a pair of friends backpacking through England, where they’re attacked by a werewolf. Without skimping on the bone-crunching, flesh-tearing genre aspects, An American Werewolf in London elevated itself to all-timer status with an equal emphasis on survivor’s guilt and the metaphysical terrors of transformation.
I’m never inclined to dismiss a project out of hand, but let’s just say this remake will have some enormous shoes to fill. The original is a classic, widely considered the best werewolf movie of all time, that boasts a hilarious, heartbreaking story along with truly groundbreaking effects from makeup maestro Rick Baker. The film launched Baker’s prodigious career, taking home the first-ever Academy Award for outstanding makeup effects. With The Walking Dead team aligned behind the remake, fans can at least feel pretty assured that the creature effects will be up to par.
Max Landis, who denied initial reports of the project a few months ago on his twitter account, previously directed the 2015 romantic comedy Me Him Her, which he also wrote. As a screenwriter, he’s found success in the genre sphere with films like Chronicle and American Ultra (which I maintain is hugely underrated) and the BBC series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which he also produces. David Ayer is currently directing his script Bright for Netflix.