We live in a world now where science can absolutely change life as we know it in so many ways, and still, H.G. Wells’ 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau remains something that we will hopefully never have to live through. At least in reality, as we’ve lived through one adaptation after another over the years. TV viewers can probably expect another one in the future, though, as CBS is looking at bringing a new take on the classic sci-fi tale to audiences.
Currently in development is Moreau, a slightly twisted version of the source material being put together by Sleepy Hollow co-creator Phillip Iscove, who ended up leaving the Fox drama at the end of Season 2. Here, Iscove will be joining former Sleepy Hollow showrunner Mark Goffman, who now has an overall deal at CBS Studios.
Wondering how things will be different this go-around? In Moreau, the title character is a woman named Dr. Katherine Moreau who was disgraced in London for her scientific prowess, and then relocates to an island where the physiologist opens up a privately funded hospital where she works on her groundbreaking experiments, which undoubtedly involves creating hybrids of humans and animals. She “expands the boundaries of medicine,” according to Deadline, and we’re reading that as “she makes monsters and freaks the fuck out of everyone.”
CBS does love its procedurals, but this seems like more of a serialized story, unless there’s a hybrid-of-the-week that terrorizes…someone. I have to wonder if this will follow the basic plotline of the novel, in which an outsider comes to the island and is introduced to all of this madness, rather than just centering on the abomination-creating scientist. In any case, I really hope they get Greg Nicotero or Tom Savini (long shot) to do the effects here, because these need to be gold.
Over the years, The Island of Doctor Moreau has been adapted quite a few times. Bela Lugosi and Charles Laughton were in 1932’s Island of Lost Souls, Burt Lancaster and Michael York were in the 1977 self-titled version, and then there was most famously the 1996 version directed in part by Richard Stanley, who was fired early on and replaced by John Frankenheimer. The latter’s nightmarish production, complete with bizarre behavior from stars Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando, was documented in the amazing recent documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau.
There’s supposedly still another big screen version of the book on the way from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Bros., and we might see the character show up on Penny Dreadful in the future. For now, though, we’ll be waiting to see if this project moves forward or not, all the while working on our Channing Tatum/albino wolf hybrid. Wait, that’s a whole different movie.