Just hours after it was announced that screenwriter Alex Kurtzman (“Star Trek,” “Transformers,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) would be teaming with frequent “Fast & Furious” scribe Chris Morgan to oversee a major unified, multi-film re-launch of Universal’s venerable monster properties — including Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy and more, CBR News was among a small group of reporters who caught a few moments with Kurtzman to learn more about his plans.
The screenwriter, who was at CBS’s press tour for the Television Critics Association for his new series “Scorpion,” also gave a little bit of insight on the state of things with his role in the expanding universe spinning off of “The Amazing Spider-Man” films, including “Sinister Six,” “Venom” and maybe — just maybe — the on-screen debut of the Black Cat.
On the cinematic side, what’s front and center on your plate, right now?
Alex Kurtzman: Front and center right now is Chris Morgan and I working on getting “The Mummy” off the ground and building up our Monster Universe. That’s where I’m spending my time. And working with Drew Goddard on “Sinister Six.”
What is your big picture view of the Monster Universe that you’re working on?
I think it’s incredibly important to all of us to start focusing on each movie and make each movie great, rather than thinking, “Okay, we want to do ‘The Avengers’ [version] next.” If that comes along, it will come along organically. When I was a kid, going to Universal Studios — which was all I wanted to do, all the time — there was a show that was all the monsters, and I loved that show. I was obsessed with Dracula, I was obsessed with Frankenstein, I was obsessed with the Wolfman — this guy used to get stretched on a rack, live and in front of the audience! It was so cool! It’s very exciting. It’s like being a kid in a candy store, getting to play with all those things again, at the very studio that birthed these monsters in the first place. Most importantly, we’re really wanting to just do each one right. I think the world will come to us, if we build them correctly.
Guillermo del Toro has always loved Frankenstein in particular. Would you want to get him involved, in some way?
Nothing would make us happier. We’re only at the beginning exploratory phase of all of it, but I’m a crazy huge Guillermo del Toro fan. So, anything he wants to be involved in, we’d be honored.
Is there a lesser-light creature in Universal’s Monster pantheon that you’re hoping to makeover into an A-lister?
Some monsters will get their own movie. Other monsters will appear in other movies, as secondary characters. The balance of that is what we’re working out right now.
What do you love about the idea of “Sinister Six?”
I am a crazy fan of movies like “The Wild Bunch” or “Wages of Fear,” where you’re rooting for the bad guys. I think that’s the opportunity that “Sinister Six” has to provide.
Where are you at with “The Amazing Spider-Man 3,” in terms of timing?
It’s still in conversation. Everybody is still figuring it out.
So it’s too soon to say when we’ll see it?
It’s all up for grabs, right now. We’re just trying to figure it out.
And where will “Venom” fit in?
“Venom” will come after “Sinister Six” — I think is the plan.
And you’ll direct that?
Fans are clamoring for more female-starring superhero films, and you’ve got Black Cat in that universe. Is there any chance we could see?
Anything is possible. We are always looking for opportunities like that. I can’t say a whole lot about it, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.
Would you like to see her in the next “Amazing Spider-Man” film, since you did set up her alter-ego?
Do you have any connective tissue planned between “Sinister Six” and “Venom,” given that both have villainous elements?
Everything is still on the table right now. Because it’s a universe outside of the Spider-Man universe, even though it’s connected to it, those movies have to stand on their own. So, we’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.
About a year ago, you said that “Locke & Key” was moving ahead as a feature film, to set up as a possible franchise. Where are you at with that?
We’re waiting on a script. I’m very excited about it. It’s still moving forward.
Is that something you’re hoping to do next year?
I’d love to do it next year. I’ve always believed in it. I think it’s got an incredibly emotional story, at the heart of something very, very scary, which is pretty rare.
You’re doing all of these TV projects — “Hawaii 5-O,” “Sleepy Hollow” and now “Scorpion” — and a lot of film work on top of that. Where do you have to keep a bird’s eye view, and where do you have to keep hands on the wheel?
The first thing you have to do is hire a really good team. Part of our job is to stay at 30,000 feet, to make sure the ship is steering in the right direction and to let everybody do what they’re good at doing. And then, there are certain projects that I’ll write on very heavily. It’s a balancing act, for sure. My day starts early.