Keanu Reeves is set to star in a Jekyll and Hyde movie, according to THR. The movie will be based on the original Robert Louis Stevenson story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. You know how it goes. A scientist’s experiment goes awry creating an alternate, wholly evil version of himself. They’re calling this take Jekyll, and Nicolas Winding Refn, who has spent his career directing below the radar horror movies, is in talks to direct.

In recent years the tale has been perverted, turning Hyde into some sort of Hulk-like, CGI monster but this version is written by Justin Haythe, the screenwriter of Revolutionary Road. You’d expect his skills to be used on a more actor-focused version. A CGI free version where the transformation is based on a great performance rather than digitally produced prosthetics. Alright, maybe Keanu can grow mutton chops or something but there are other, more interesting ways to convey pure evil. To me, that more restrained take on the story has always been more interesting than the obvious, monster movie version.

Of course to do that kind of Jekyll and Hyde movie you really should have a first rate actor in the movie’s lead role. They don’t have that, and this is somewhat worrying. Maybe they will go CGI brute for Hyde, since the difference in performance between a CGI construct and Keanu Reeves is fairly minimal. Don’t get me wrong, I love Reeves in the right circumstances. He’s great when asked to play bewildered incredulity. That’s why he works so well in The Matrix or for that matter Bill & Ted. But doing multiple personalities in a Jekyll and Hyde movie? Keanu’s reach may have exceeded his grasp. Maybe this will all make sense, once we get more details on the project.

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