Keanu Reeves is about to develop a split personality as the star of a modern retelling of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
Universal Pictures is developing the feature, with Justin Haythe, writer of "Revolutionary Road," penning the script. Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, writer-director of the "Pusher" trilogy of gritty thrillers, is in negotiations to direct the project, titled "Jekyll."
Robert Louis Stevenson's novella about a doctor who scientifically develops an evil self has become so pervasive in popular culture that the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" conjures the idea of a split personality. The story has been translated to the screen and stage dozens of times. Among the adaptations are comedy versions, kids' stories ("Jekyll and Heidi") and gender-switch tales (1995's "Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde"). The story has undergone modern iterations as recently as 2007, when the BBC aired a miniseries that set the story in the present as Hyde ran amok in London.
Plot details for this "Jekyll" are being kept locked in the laboratory.
Universal clearly is enamored with the tale; it also has been developing a take on it with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, but the two adaptations couldn't be more different.
Del Toro, who has an affinity for Gothic horror as well as creature features, aims to stick more closely to the Stevenson tale. His project is on the back burner, though, as he works on "The Hobbit" for New Line and MGM, a project that's expected to take up the next five years.
Refn's indie crime biopic "Bronson," starring Tom Hardy, premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival.Haythe wrote the script for "The Clearing," the Robert Redford-starring kidnapping thriller. He is working on the remake of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."
Reeves most recently starred in the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still."