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SNEAK PEEK 4
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

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Universal Pictures has announced that Guillermo "BLADE 2" Del Toro will direct a 're-imagining' of the popular 1950's monster movie "CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON". Guillermo's other helming credits include "Cronos", "Mimic", and Sony's upcoming "Hellboy". For this go-round, location shooting will be set for Queensland, Australia, as opposed to the original film's South American Amazon.

During the 1940's, Universal Pictures enjoyed box office success franchising pictures featuring classic monsters "FRANKENSTEIN," "DRACULA," "WOLF MAN," "MUMMY" and "PHANTOM OF THE OPERA", but by 1948 and the release of "ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN", audiences had become jaded by the new 'comedic' aspects of the 'horror' movie genre.

The world had changed dramatically and a 'new' kind of monster was needed to compete with the likes of sci-fi/horror monsters "THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD", "GODZILLA" and "THEM".

In 1954, producer William Alland, recalling stories heard from film crews, concerning pirahna-like creatures lurking along the Amazon River, devised the idea of a half-man/half-fish creature; a missing link in the evolutionary chain that had survived time : THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.

Alland chose director Jack Arnold, who had just completed the 3-D movie "IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE." Bud Westmore, head of Universal International's makeup department, was hired to create a convincing 'Gill Man' outfit. Westmore credited his co-workers Jack Kevan, Chris Mueller, Milicent Patrick and Bob Hickman with the final, seamless design. Writer Maurice Zimm then turned in a 59 page treatment which was fine-tuned by screenwriters Arthur Ross and Harry Essex. Glenn Strange, who had portrayed the Frankenstein Monster in some Universal films, was the studio's first choice to play the title role, but turned it down because he thought there would be too much swimming involved.

Ben Chapman eventually signed to play the Gill Man, playing the 'Creature" in all scenes filmed above water. Ricou Browning was hired to do all the stunt work underwater (and did underwater swim scenes for all three films.)

Two sequels followed featuring Tom Hennesy as the Creature in "REVENGE OF THE CREATURE" and Don Megowan as "THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US."

But unlike Karloff, Lugosi and Chaney, who became household names portraying monsters in the 1930's and 1940's, the actors who played the Creature remained un-uncredited (in order to promote the possibility of a 'real' creature).

Gary Ross ("Pleasantville"), son of Arthur A. Ross, co-writer of the original film with Harry Essex, will produce the new "CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON" with his father, under their company banner Larger Than Life Productions.

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