Lionsgate is throwing its hat back into the classic terror tale arena as Deadline is reporting that Ruben Fleischer has been set by the studio to direct Chris Evans in Jekyll, a feature based on the 2007 BBC One series.
Evans came attached in July to play the lead role of Tom Jackman. This sets up a couple of potential competitive situations, one of them involving the rival project at Universal that is being built around Russell Crowe. The other: Which movie will Fleischer next direct? Currently he’s in the middle of Sony’s effort to sequelize Zombieland.
As for Jekyll, Marc Platt is producing with Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman through through their A Very Good Production banner, and the team of Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry have written a script based on the Steven Moffat-scripted six-episode miniseries. Bagarozzi and Mondry previously teamed on the Shane Black-directed The Nice Guys and Doc Savage, as well as the remake of Death Note.
The BBC miniseries wasn’t a straight adaptation of the Stevenson novella; instead, the classic tale was a jumping-off point for a sequel. In the miniseries, James Nesbitt played Jackman, a modern-day descendant of Jekyll who is beginning to exhibit the trademark split personality. The father and husband abandons his family, without explaining why, and lives in a fortified basement with a psychiatric nurse as his ally. When they strap the doctor to a metal chair, she watches him transform into an alter ego who rages, shows heightened strength and speed, and can be a charming, flirtatious scoundrel as well. The two personalities try to co-exist, even though one doesn’t remember what the other does while in control of the body. They use a microcassette to leave messages for each other. Unable to stay away from the family he left behind for their own safety, he visits his wife, Hyde assumes control and learns about them, and things grow very complicated.
Fleischer will work with the writers, and some of the timing depends on Evans’ duties as Captain America in the back to back sequels to The Avengers, which Joe and Anthony Russo are directing.
As for Universal, as mentioned, it is also developing a film based on the Robert Louis Stevenson public-domain novel about the doctor with the split personality. Russell Crowe will appear first in The Mummy opposite Tom Cruise and presumably as a stand-alone in a later film.
This could get complicated so stay tuned for more!