Universal Pictures will scare up a new version of its horror classic "The Wolf Man," with Benicio Del Toro playing the title role.
"Seven" scribe Andrew Kevin Walker has begun writing the script. Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn, Mary Parent and Del Toro will produce.
The studio owned the underlying rights to the character.
Like the 1941 original that starred Lon Chaney Jr., new pic will be set in Victorian England. Del Toro will play a man who returns from America to his ancestral homeland, gets bitten by a werewolf and begins a hairy moonlight existence.
Deal came out of a series of meetings with the producers, Walker and Del Toro, who collects Wolf Man memorabilia.
Walker spent several months working on some frightening new twists to a familiar tale, adding several characters and plot points that take advantage of cutting-edge visual effects technology.
Walker will turn in his first draft by the spring, and the producers and studio are optimistic that "The Wolf Man" will shoot early in 2007, after Del Toro completes "Guerrilla," the Che Guevara film being directed by Steven Soderbergh.
The expectation is that "The Wolf Man" will be a summer 2008 tentpole.
The pic will be supervised by production president Donna Langley and exec veep Peter Cramer.
Stuber and Parent, the former vice chairmen who moved into a producing deal with U, get their first company credit with the June 2 opening of the Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston comedy "The Break-Up." The company follows with the Owen Wilson/Kate Hudson starrer "You, Me and Dupree" opening July 14, and production begins in June on "The Kingdom," the Peter Berg-directed Jamie Foxx starrer Stuber and Parent are producing with Michael Mann.