Alex Kurtzman is no stranger to Hollywood. The man has had years of experience writing TV shows, and most notably, bringing some of the world’s biggest blockbusters to life, including: “Mission: Impossible 3,” “Star Trek,” “Transformers.” Kurtzman has already dabbled a bit in directing, and will continue doing so in the near future with the “Mummy” reboot from Universal.
Right now, however, he’s keeping plenty busy serving as executive producer on the CBS TV show, “Limitless,” a series based on the 2011 film starring Bradley Cooper (which was already based on a novel called “The Dark Fields”). Although, saying the show is “based on” the film is a bit of an inaccurate statement. It’s more accurate to say that it takes place within the same universe established in the film.
In a recent interview with Slashfilm, the writer/producer went into depth on why he felt that “Limitless” was a concept that deserved the television treatment.
“I think that the line between television and features started to blur a couple years ago. The standards started to become the same which is that the idea had to be very loud. The show didn’t have to be loud, the idea had to be loud. It had to cut through the clutter…In the case of Limitless, the movie asked a lot of interesting questions but it didn’t answer all of them. So our show is going to spend time answering a lot of the questions that the movie asked. We get to roll up our sleeves and dig into those in ways you wouldn’t necessarily have time to do in a two hour movie.”
But of course, while Kurtzman was instrumental in bringing “Limitless” to the small screen, he’s also, as mentioned above, set to direct the upcoming “Mummy” reboot. While in 2012, Kurtzman had the opportunity to direct the film “People Like Us,” his actual experience with directing a big project is very limited. When asked if he was ready to take on the challenge, he said:
“I’ve had the good fortune of being able to write and produce a lot of them now. I’ve spent time with directors who’ve been very gracious with me about really allowing me to sit by their side. I’ve watched them do their thing. I’ve learned a ton. I don’t think you can ever really stop learning, especially from people who are that amazing, so I feel ready. I feel really ready to go and Universal’s been incredible about supporting our whole monster endeavor, so I feel like I’m going to have amazing people around me in order to help us launch it.”
In true modern fashion, all the upcoming Universal monster movies will be within the same universe, and it'll give an opportunity for these monsters to interact with each other. Though with that comes some different approaches to storytelling from your average film.
Kurtzman was asked if he considers shared universes to be a new form of sequel, and his overall thoughts on it.
“…I started in television and have been in television for a long time now, you approach television from a much more serialized longview place. So you think about not just what is the one story I’m telling, but how do I take this story and tell it over many seasons? That’s obviously started to be what’s happening with movies but the challenge is, you have to deliver each movie. Each movie has to be satisfying. You can’t be so serialized that if you didn’t see the movie that came before, you’re really lost. The benefit of being able to exist in a shared universe world is that you can take more time to develop your characters. You can put them in situations that don’t necessarily resolve right away. That’s really exciting. It means that you don’t just have to have a beginning, a middle and an end in which everything is resolved. Obviously as a writer, that’s a lot of fun because it gives you a lot of room to grow.”
Regarding more little details involving the movie, Kurtzman was pretty tightlipped, but he did reveal a few more details. For starters, “The Mummy” “very well might” contain any other Universal monsters. Kurtzman also is of the belief that it would be a waste for a movie to be called “The Mummy” without having a character wrapped in bandages. Finally, the film is not connected to “Dracula Untold,” but Kurtzman thinks it’s “an ongoing conversation.”
"Limitless" airs on Tuesday nights at 10/9c on CBS, and "The Mummy" is set for a March 24, 2017 release date.