Universal Studios has signed up Keanu Reeves to star in a new film version of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The Matrix star will take the lead in a "modern retelling" of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn - who directed recent crime biopic Bronson - is attached the helm the new take on the Jekyll and Hyde tale while Revolutionary Road screenwriter Justin Haythe will pen the screenplay.

Reeves, most recently seen in science-fiction thriller The Day the Earth Stood Still, can next be seen alongside Winona Ryder and Julianne Moore in drama The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, set for a summer release.

No plot details for the new Jekyll and Hyde film - the story of a Doctor Who scientifically develops an evil Alter Ego - have yet been released but it comes as a surprise project for Universal, who already have Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro attached to develop a fantastical take on Stevenson's gothic horror.

However, Del Toro is commencing pre-production work on the two films based on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and then has a four-film deal with Universal that ties him to the studio for the next decade.

Though the Jekyll and Hyde adaptation is part of his contract with the studio, it is thought the Mexican director will first adapt Dan Simmons' Dickens-inspired novel Drood, with new film versions of Frankenstein and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five also planned.

08/05/2009 08:37:34