Tom Cruise is treading into very some dangerous territory here: The perpetual superstar is in talks to take on the role of famed vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing in an upcoming film about the character originally created by vampirical genius Bram Stoker. The presently untitled film comes from Star Trek 2 writers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, and is being produced by Universal.
On paper, there is nothing wrong with this casting. Cruise proved in 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol that at 49-years-old, he can still more than handle the physical demands of an action-heavy role. The major problem that arises has to do with one of Cruise’s earlier roles: His role in 1994’s campy Interview with the Vampire. Guess what sort of mythical creature he played in that. (Hint: It sucked!)
For one man to take on both vampire and vampire hunter in a single lifetime — and not even a vampire’s lifetime, which would at least give you a century or two in the interim period to build back up your indie cred — is beyond gutsy. Mankind’s most influential legendary monster and the literary icon fated with waging war of this evil species. The dead and the living. Evil and good. Night and day. Cruise accepting this role is tantamount to him claiming the entire scope of humanity’s capabilities for himself. After this, there is no point in anyone ever acting again.
But there is a far more significant implication here. This won’t be the first Prof. Van Helsing movie made in recent years — in 2004, Stephen Sommers directed the underwhelming Van Helsing, starring none other than Hugh Jackman. More of a slap in the face than Cruise showing humanity that he can overpower us all is Cruise thinking he can actually do a better job at something than Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman is perfect. Sure, Van Helsing was… less than exemplary. But the fact that everyone has tacitly agreed never to talk about that movie again is a testament to just how much the world loves and reveres Hugh Jackman. Tom Cruise may be a superhero, but taking on Hugh Jackman is some pretty risky business.