On Sunday, Universal released the first trailer for The Mummy, and now a featurette and two interviews with director Alex Kurtzman give some context to what the heck Russell Crowe is doing there. We know he’s playing Dr. Henry Jekyll, and other movies in this shared Universal Monster Movie Universe might include Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man and Javier Bardem as Frankenstein. Kurtzman also revealed to io9 that future movies include Van Helsing (with a script on the way from Passengers writer Jon Spaihts and Arrival writer Eric Heisserer) and may also include the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Bride of Frankenstein. But Kurtzman clarified that 2014’s Dracula Untold is not part of this universe after all.
But back to Russell Crowe and his passions.
Crowe is going to be fightin’ ’round the world as Dr. Jekyll (and presumably Mr. Hyde) as the leader of Prodigium, a secret organization which has been tracking monsters for eons. Kurtzman explains:
“We wanted to understand the context of The Mummy in the larger world. And we wanted to know that monsters existed for millennia. And we knew that as the story evolved there was going to be an organization that was maybe cataloging them, following them, collecting them. That would determine the good ones from the bad ones. That was sort of the keeper of that secret history.”
They chose Jekyll as the leader of the organization to tie the movies together and because, Kurtzman explained, Jekyll’s own internal battle is similar to the one Tom Cruise’s character has in The Mummy, where he’s apparently been cursed. (That curse helped him survive a plane crash, though, so give us some of that curse.)
Of course, when you have too much in common with someone, it can lead to tension. As seen in the featurette above, Crowe will be kicking the crap out of Cruise at some point in the movie. Unless that was just a regular day between takes. Could be either.