Slowly but surely we're getting more information about Universal's plan to build a cinematic universe around their classic movie monsters. This means that we will also be getting a new version of the monster hunter Van Helsing - whose inspiration has come from an interesting place. The screenwriter for the new Van Helsing movie has revealed that he has partially based the new interpretation of the classic character on the hero of the wasteland, Max Roketansky from the Mad Max films - specifically in his attitude and idiosyncrasies.
While Abraham Van Helsing was a relatively minor character when he was first introduced in Dracula by Bram Stoker, the character has been adopted by pop culture since then into everything from a vampire expert to a professional monster hunter. While we'd expect this new version to be more like the Hugh Jackman version from the 2004 than the Anthony Hopkins take from Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 movie (this is a blockbuster film franchise, after all) Eric Heisserer, one of the screenwriters behind the project, recently told HitFix that the ultimate inspiration for the rebooted character came from George Miller's Mad Max. Said Heisserer,
I can only say that early on, our inspiration for his behavior and his mannerisms was all in Mad Max.
Eric Heisserer doesn't go into any details beyond that, so exactly how Mad Max inspired Van Helsing is not clear. Depending on how we interpret the statement, we could get a couple of different ideas. Does he mean the inspiration was in the character of Mad Max, or does he mean it was "in Mad Max?" If he's talking specifically about the first film in the franchise, it could mean something a little different than the character in general. In the 1979 film, Max Roketansky (played by Mel Gibson) still has a family and things he cares about - but then he loses them and goes on something of a rampage. In the latter films, he's alone and is mostly content to remain that way, even though he tends to find himself involved in other peoples' affairs. Will Van Helsing be on a hunt for vengeance, or will he simply want to be left alone?
The fact that the screenwriter specifies that Mad Max was the inspiration "early on" could indicate the character has seen some change over time. It's possible that the Mad Max aspects of the character have gone through some evolution since the initial conception, meaning that we probably shouldn't expect to see any kind of a carbon copy.
Regardless of what the final version of Van Helsing is like, we're certainly interested to see it all come together. Alex Kurtzman's The Mummy, which stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe and Annabelle Wallis, will be the first chapter in this new cinematic universe, scheduled to hit theaters on June 8, 2017.