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Channing Tatum was the front runner for Castlevania, now Van Helsing

Channing Tatum

Earlier this month, an animated mini-series inspired by the Castlevania video game franchise was released on the Netflix streaming service. One of the executive producers of this mini-series was Adi Shankar, who had previously been asked to be involved with the development of a live action adaptation of the games that has been in development hell for a long time and still remains there.

Speaking to ComicBook.com, Shankar revealed that one of the reasons why he didn't attach himself to the live action CASTLEVANIA feature was how the powers that be intended to approach the vampire-fighting, Dracula-defeating character Trevor Belmont, who is voiced by English actor Richard Armitage in the mini-series.

I passed on that opportunity because I didn’t feel like that group wanted to make an authentic Castlevania movie and instead were making a movie titled Castlevania to leverage off the “pre-existing brand awareness” associated with the title. I was told, for example, that Trevor Belmont had to be American and that Channing Tatum was my front runner. I walked away from what would have been a lucrative deal for me financially because I was a fan, because of my personal relationship with Castlevania, and because I didn’t want to partake in the massacre my childhood."

So far, those CASTLEVANIA rights holders haven't managed to pit Channing Tatum against vampire hordes, and they may be beaten to the punch by Universal. As the studio moves forward with the development of their Dark Universe series, which began with this year's THE MUMMY and will see the reboots of all of their classic monsters and madmen, including Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Phantom of the Opera, they're looking to bolster the box office with star power. So far they have Johnny Depp signed on to play the Invisible Man, Javier Bardem will be playing Frankenstein's Monster in the 2019 remake of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and they're hoping to cast Angelina Jolie as the titular Bride, and THE MUMMY introduced Russell Crowe in the role of Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde. Although THE MUMMY hasn't done huge business at the domestic box office (just over $79 million as of now), it has pulled in over $300 million from other territories, and Universal believes that star Tom Cruise was a major reason for its success.

Star power is why Channing Tatum is currently their front runner for the Dark Universe film that will center on the monster hunter VAN HELSING.

Universal did learn another lesson from the reception of THE MUMMY, though - they learned that they need to spend more time developing the scripts for these Dark Universe projects. Dan Mazeau is currently working on a rewrite of the VAN HELSING script, working from an existing draft written by Jon Spaihts and Eric Heisserer. If the finished version stays true to Van Helsing as written by Spaihts and Heisserer, we'll be seeing a character who has 

no extraordinary powers, just resourcefulness and will and kind of a stubbornness who’s able to tackle some of these bigger problems.

Their intention was to make this new take on VAN HELSING as scary as possible, because 

when you’re the only human surrounded by a bunch of supernatural creatures, that’s gotta be absolutely unnerving."

We can only wait to see how it goes, and to find out whether or not Tatum will end up taking the role.

THE MUMMY will be released on Blu-ray/DVD in September. The next Dark Universe film is BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, which is scheduled for a February 14, 2019 release.

Extra Tidbit: Who would you like to see play VAN HELSING?
Source: THRComicBook

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