Universal has two screenwriters battling over that Mummy reboot

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Feb 14, 2013, 4:22 PM EST

Universal Pictures has apparently developed a new strategy for getting the best possible Mummy reboot: two writers, two scripts, and may the best draft win.

We already knew that Universal was hoping to get a third incarnation of the classic horror franchise off the ground sometime soon, and that they'd picked up Underworld andTotal Recall 's Len Wiseman to direct it and Prometheus' Jon Spaihts to write it. But it seems Spaihts has company in the film's script department. Sources have told Vulture that Universal also hired Hunger Games screenwriter Billy Ray to work on the flick, but he's not collaborating with Spaihts. He's competing with him.

That's right, in what seems like an effort to double the odds of a good script being produced, Universal has picked up two high-profile scribes to work on two different drafts of the flick, both of which will reboot the Mummy franchise with a present-day story. It's an unusual (and possibly expensive) strategy, but it could help the studio to speed up the production process. After all, having two writers at work simultaneously lessens the chance that yet another writer will have to be hired for rewrites further down the line. Plus, one insider said it's possible that these dueling scripts could simply turn into one uber-script by the time the flick heads into production.

“My suspicion is that one of them will be a ‘structure-and-body’ man, and one’s going to be a ‘character-and-dialogue’ man — and that they’ll then just gang-bang them together into one script, crediting both writers,” the insider said.

So, we could see a Ray script, we could see a Spaihts script, or we could see a Ray/Spaihts script, all in the service of hopefully saving Universal time, helping Wiseman get back to making hit movies after the box office disaster of Total Recall, and keeping the Mummy franchise profitable. Will it work? Well, the studio's hoping to begin shooting by fall at the latest, so we'll see if the dueling writers can hit that target.

(Via Vulture)