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Richard Stanley is getting another chance to make The Island of Dr. Moreau

08.16.2017by: Cody Hamman

The Island of Dr. Moreau John Frankenheimer Ron Perlman

Making a cinematic adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU was a passion project for HARDWARE / DUST DEVIL director Richard Stanley, who had first read the book as a child. He spent four years developing an adaptation, and then - as chronicled in David Gregory's documentary LOST SOUL: THE DOOMED JOURNEY OF RICHARD STANLEY'S ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU - it all fell apart just days into production. With tons of problems stacking up, Stanley was fired three days into filming and replaced by John Frankenheimer for the infamous 1996 MOREAU that starred Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer.

More than twenty years later, thanks to Gregory and the documentary, Stanley might be getting a second chance at bringing THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU to the screen, and this time he's aiming very high - the director tells Birth Movies Death that he's hoping to turn Wells' story into either a series of three feature films or a six hour television mini-series.

I would prefer it to be on TV rather than as a theatrical movie or movies, because a) we would have less interference from the studio, and b) we could have an R-level product. I believe that going for the multiplex, it would have its teeth pulled and its nails cut again [New Line’s Moreau was PG-13], and going to television, we could be pretty unrestrained in the way we approach the material. There are a lot of scenes I’ve always wanted to do, including those with the sexually charged dolphin people [laughs], that have fallen out along the way, which I would like to get back into it."

Stanley's new attempt at MOREAU is currently in the scripting and designing stage. He has to start fresh with this adaptation because the work he did while developing the '96 version is owned by Warner Bros. The filmmaker is quite happy to be re-designing the beast people, because he found the creatures in the '96 film to be disappointing, with huge room for improvement.

That’s something I’ve been talking about with the project’s backers at some length, because that was also their concern, to reinvent the mousetrap in terms of the beast-people. This time around, they seem to understand the film a bit better, and realize that the creatures are the stars of the movie, not the humans. That was the essential mistake made in the New Line version. They didn’t realize just how much mileage they could get out of those characters if they actually foregrounded them."

Although Wells' novel has already served as the basis of many movies and TV shows, I would totally be down to see Stanley get another chance to make his MOREAU dreams come true and actually bring his vision of the story to the screen this time.

Extra Tidbit: Would you like to see Stanley make MOREAU?

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