The Island of Dr. Moreau is getting rebooted for the small screen. In the works from Gunpowdery & Sky’s sci-fi label Dust, the project is said to put a modern spin on the classic novel by H.G. Wells. Simply titled Moreau, the series will be written by Zack Stentz, whose prior writing credits include X-Men: First Class, Thor, Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
“The double helix wasn’t even a twinkle in Watson & Crick’s eye when H.G. Wells first wrote The Island of Dr. Moreau, but his 1896 novel proved astonishingly prescient about how unlocking the secrets of DNA would open the door to humanity playing God with the natural world in strange and frightening ways,” Zack Stentz said in a statement.
Providing some details about his new take on the classic story, the writer adds, “And now, in the shadow of the CRISPR revolution, it felt like the perfect time to revisit Moreau and bring it into our own 21st Century world of transgenic animals, designer babies and other scientific advances Wells never could have dreamed of. I’m delighted to be working with Eric, Geoff & the Gunpowder & Sky team to welcome a whole new generation to the good doctor’s terrifying island.”
Additionally, a plot description for The Island of Dr. Moreau TV Show states that the series follows “world-renowned scientist Dr. Jessica Moreau, whose pioneering work in genetic engineering catches the eye of a billionaire backer willing to stop at nothing to reach the next step of human evolution.”
The original novel version was first published by H.G. Wells in 1896. It focuses on a man who winds up shipwrecked on the island home of a mad scientist who’s been creating human-animal hybrid creatures. One of Wells’ most-celebrated titles, The Island of Dr. Moreau has been adapted for the big and small screen many times over the years. This includes the 1932 movie Island of Lost Souls with Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi and a 2002 “Treehouse of Horror” parody episode of The Simpsons called “The Island of Dr. Hibbert.”
Perhaps the most famous of all of the adaptations of The Island of Dr. Moreau is the 1996 movie from director John Frankenheimer and screenwriters Richard Stanley and Ron Hutchinson. Marlon Brando famously starred as the titular mad scientist with Val Kilmer, David Thewlis, Fairuza Balk, and Ron Perlman also starring. In the movie. Dr. Moreau introduces human DNA into the animals to make them more “human.”
Unfortunately, the movie is infamous for its tumultuous production behind the scenes. This includes major recastings, director replacement, constant script rewrites, Brando refusing to learn his lines, and even a disruption by a hurricane. To make matters worse, the movie was a box office bomb and was pelted with nonstop negative reviews upon its release. The story of the ill-fated production is extensively covered in the 2014 documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau.
For Stentz’ sake, let’s hope Moreau fares much better than the notorious 1996 movie adaptation. No word yet on when the series will arrive. This news comes to us from Deadline.