Since Haley Joel Osment was supposed to be Hollywood's next big actor after becoming a household name thanks to The Sixth Sense and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence but hasn't been heard from in a while, it would be easy to assume that the cute kid grew up to either hate what made him famous or lost his talent. And while both of those may very well be the truth, the real reason we haven't seen Osment in any recent films is because, unlike most extremely talented kids who find the spotlight at a crucial age, he actually stepped out of the spotlight so he could go to high school and then college like a normal kid. But now that he's graduated from NYU, Osment is getting back into the Hollywood shuffle.
His first project is actually an indie comedy called Sassy Pants, but he'll be following that by returning to the genre that really put him on the map. Variety tells us he'll be playing Victor Franklin in Wake the Dead, a modernization of Frankenstein that repurposes the death-hating doctor as a death-hating college student. And while it'll be interesting to see a grown-up Osment playing with dead things once more, I can't help but feel a little underwhelmed by the material choice. The whole "young doctor Frankenstein" approach just makes me think of epidoes of both "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Supernatural," while the "college student who tries to reverse death" angle just makes me think of H.P. Lovecraft's original story for Herbert West: Re-Animator.
Of course, those are just superficial comparisons. There is a bit of a confidence to be found in knowing that Wake the Dead is an adaptation of Steve Niles' graphic novel series. But, then again, this is one of the first productions for Guns 'n Roses guitarist Slash's new shingle, Slasher Films, and it's being directed by Jay Russell, the guy who made Tuck Everlasting and Ladder 49. I'm not sure source material from the guy who created 30 Days of Night is enough horror cred to overcome those hurdles (seriously, the guy who made The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep is going to try to bring that image to your right to the big screen?), turning what should have been a "Ha, that's awesome" casting announcement into a "Hmmm, we'll see" brand of caution.