Universal’s Monster movies have been around since the early 1920s. Over the last 90+ years, Hollywood has tried to revamp the franchise over and over. While short-lived, Hammer Films was really the only production company to come close to fully making the classic characters’ movies globally successful again. The original Universal films had iconic actors playing even more iconic characters, with timeless performances from the likes of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Elsa Lanchester. Recent unsuccessful reboots have been attempted, like Dracula Untold, The Wolfman (2010), and The Mummy (2017).
While the biggest issues with the newer reboot attempts have mostly come with changes to the stories and special effects, there’s also been a lack of excellent talent in the titular roles. On this list, we’ve decided to reboot and recast the entire Universal MonsterVerse, using actors we think would portray their roles perfectly. From The Phantom of the Opera to The Creature From the Black Lagoonhere are our dream castings for a reboot of the Universal MonsterVerse.
8 Doug Jones – Creature From the Black Lagoon
The most obvious choice on this list, Doug Jones is the ultimate choice to play the creature in a reboot of Creature From the Black Lagoon. Jones not only has a ton of experience in full-body makeup and costumes, but also has experience in being fully submerged in water, as shown in both Hellboy and Guillermo del Toro’s heavily Creature-inspired Oscar-winning film, The Shape of Water. Jones’ ability to both contort his body in animalistic ways, while also keeping a humanistic personality in the forefront. Though nothing has been made official, there have been rumblings of a remake on the horizon, with Scarlett Johansson taking on Julie Andrews’ classic lead role. We think Jones would be perfect to star opposite Johansson.
7 Bradley Cooper – The Phantom of the Opera
Not only does the lead role in The Phantom of the Opera need to be a traditional good-looking actor (at least at the start of the film), but they must be able to tap into a villainous personality. At this point in his career, we’re sure Bradley Cooper could magnificently pull off both. Early in his acting career, Cooper showed off his good looks in films like Wedding Crashers and Silver Linings Playbookbut it was not until recently, in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alleythat we got to see Cooper play a truly conflicted and villainous character. His slow transition into madness and despair in that film, provides great inspiration for what Cooper could do with this classic masked villain.
6 Rahul Kohli – The Mummy
As probably the least-known actor on this list, it’s time for Rahul Kohli to land a leading role. He’s been nothing short of fantastic in both of Mike Flanagan‘s Netflix series, The Haunting of Bly Manorand Midnight Mass. Kohli is no stranger to the horror genre, and could seamlessly play both the intelligent and imposing portrayal needed in a remake of The Mummy. Aside from the incredible set design, the original film relied on an amazing performance from Boris Karloff, as the rest of the film was … quite frankly, a little boring. By sticking to the original story, and not taking the souped-up Tom Cruise movie route, and adding in some Oscar-worthy makeup and effects, Kohli could take the monstrous character to an acting level it has not seen since 1932.
5 Ethan Hawke – The Wolf Man
Ethan Hawke has always been a brilliant actor, who has never seemed to get the recognition he deserves. He’s had a bit of a moment back in the spotlight recently, with outstanding performances in The NorthmanMarvel’s Moon Knightand The Black Phone. Hawke has experience in playing both a protagonist and an antagonist, sometimes in the same film, and has even more experience in the horror genre. Taking on the role of Lawrence Talbot in a remake of The Wolf Man would be a perfect match for Hawke, as he’s consistently able to pull off playing a conflicted character (Training Day), as well as one who can turn vicious at the drop of a hat (Taking Lives). This role could finally be the one that lands him an Oscar win, after being nominated four times throughout his career.
4 Winston Duke – The Invisible Man
Don’t get us wrong, Leigh Whannell’s 2019 take on The Invisible Man was a fantastic film, but it hardly focused on the villainous character himself. Winston Duke has proven to shine in standout minor roles, like in Black Panther and Us, and we think him taking on the titular mad scientist role would be a great step into a leading role. Not only does he have the ability to be imposing because of his size, but there’s a certain likeability to him that would cause the audience to be conflicted whether to be for or against him, much in the same way Claude Rains was in the original 1933 movie. Seeing a remake of this film so soon is probably unrealistic, especially with the success of the 2019 version, but eventually expanding the MonsterVerse with Duke playing one of its most interesting characters, would be a smart move.
3 Gwendoline Christie – The Bride of Frankenstein
Being both physically imposing and absolutely gorgeous, Gwendoline Christie would be the perfect casting choice for The Bride of Frankenstein. She already has experience playing powerful characters, becoming a fan favorite in both Game of Thrones and the new Star Wars trilogy. An underlying level of emotion, shielded by a stern exterior is needed for this classic monster, and Christie has proven to show this great effect in her role of Brienne of Tarth. Gwendoline Christie has the chops required to capture the sadness and loneliness the Bride presents underneath, as well as the ferocious anger this iconic character is known for.
2 Ron Perlman – Frankenstein’s Monster
Fully experienced in performances in both full-body makeup and in the horror genre, Ron Perlman could play Frankenstein ‘s monster perfectly. Even though Perlman comes off as a tough-as-nails actor in almost all of his roles, there have been a few where he’s able to tap into a slightly emotional plane (Sons of Anarchy, Hand of God), which is all that is needed in playing one of Universal’s most popular monsters. His imposing size and look fit the character like a glove, and the chemistry that could be created with a style-focused director like Guillermo del Toro or Robert Rodriguez could make for a flawless match. The monster’s limitations of movement and action would not be too much for Perlman, either, as the actor is now in his seventies.
1 Tom Hiddleston – Dracula
Tom Hiddleston provides both the irresistible charm and the sly deviousness in his acting style that is required to take on the role of Count Dracula. As we’ve seen in both Loki and in Crimson peak, Hiddleston has the ability to switch from an endearing protagonist to a seething antagonist in as little time as a scene change. The role of Dracula is not only the most iconic role in Universal’s storied franchise, but possibly the most iconic role in all the horror genre. Dracula has a long line of fantastic actors that have put on the cape, including Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, and Gary Oldman. We think Hiddleston has what it takes to provide a performance that belongs right in the mix with all three of those powerhouse actors.