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Universal Hires 'Hunger Games' Writer Billy Ray To Pen Competing Script For 'The Mummy' Reboot

The Playlist By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 14, 2013 at 4:46PM

Oh, what a rollercoaster you're taking us on Universal! Last spring, with "Prometheus" still buzzing on everyone's minds, the studio snapped up that film's original writer Jon Spaihts to pen their reboot of "The Mummy." Okay, if it's gonna happen, he's a decent enough choice. And then in September, they bizarrely announced that Len Wiseman, coming off the stink of "Total Recall," was going to direct. Far from our first choice, but we get it, he can do effects stuff in his sleep. But now it seems like they're still not sure what they want to do.
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The Mummy Billy Ray

Oh, what a rollercoaster you're taking us on Universal! Last spring, with "Prometheus" still buzzing on everyone's minds, the studio snapped up that film's original writer Jon Spaihts to pen their reboot of "The Mummy." Okay, if it's gonna happen, he's a decent enough choice. And then in September, they bizarrely announced that Len Wiseman, coming off the stink of "Total Recall," was going to direct. Far from our first choice, but we get it, he can do effects stuff in his sleep. But now it seems like they're still not sure what they want to do.

Vulture reports that Universal has hired Billy Ray ("The Hunger Games," the upcoming Paul Greengrass thriller "Captain Phillips") to write a competing script. Why? Well, the studio is very keen to revive the series that has banked over a billion so far, and they have dead aim on a 2014 release date. So the thinking is that with two people working on different scripts (but both with contemporary settings) they will have at least one they can definitely shoot this year. But if not? Here's what a source told Vulture: 

"My suspicion is that one of them will be a ‘structure-and-body’ man, and one’s going to be a ‘character-and-dialogue’ man — and that they’ll then just gang-bang them together into one script, crediting both writers, because credit arbitration is usually a nightmare."

Good Lord. As "A Good Die To Die Hard" proved, just putting something -- anything -- into production because it has a name people recognize, and hoping it will deliver, is simply foolish. As foolish as throwing money down a toilet to pen two scripts, which may lead to a scenario where you take the best parts from each and staple it together. Didn't Universal learn anything from "The Wolfman" fiasco? Guess not.

This article is related to: The Mummy, Billy Ray


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