MUENSTER — A Benedictine monk from St. Peter’s Abbey is working to put his science fiction version of a Inuit legend onto the big screen.
For more than a decade, Brother Kurt van Kuren has been intrigued by the amarok – a gigantic wolf that hunts alone. In one particular legend, an amarok comes to heal a young Inuit girl who is crippled.
Van Kuren is now working with Trevor Hanowski, a former St. Peter’s student and Hollywood art director, to create a movie based on the legend. His version takes place in 2035, at a time when big corporations are attempting to make armies of super soldiers.
One corporation successfully creates an advanced race of super soldier by combining the DNA of an early type of human with a dire wolf.
The results are sky wolves, 14-foot tall super soldiers of superior strength and intelligence being developed at a mammoth reserve near the Coppermine River and the hamlet of Kugluktuk in Nunavut.
In the middle of this world is Elle E., a 17-year-old young Inuit woman who has undergone a required gene therapy to become a super soldier herself. She has an extremely high IQ, is twice as strong as a full grown man, and has incredible night vision. However, the therapy that made her strong has also made her mute.
Elle E. is far from the Tony Starks and Bruce Waynes of the comic book superhero world. Instead of starting at the top, she is starting at ground zero, said van Kuren, a part of one of the most downtrodden groups of people in Canada.
As a writer, he has given her a mountain to climb in order to grow away from a bitter, resentful person into a strong, capable leader who cares about the world.
Together with a sky wolf, nicknamed Pup, they venture into a world of war that spans across dimensions.
“It’s about these two people, one who just happen to be a 14-foot-tall werewolf and the other a super girl, but other than that they have to learn to work together and trust each other. That’s really what it's all about.”
The message that van Kuren wanted to bring to the story, we’re all in this together.
“Religion and science are not at war with each other and each of us has something to tell the other person.”
The project began as Van Kuren’s attempt to write a James Patterson-style mystery. He liked the finished product, he said, but he never expected it to go beyond his writing group. Three years later, it’s a whole other adventure.
Hanowski has been friends with van Kuren since his time at St. Peter’s College in the early 1990s. Looking for an original project to bring to the big screen, he turned to van Kuren, and Amarok started down its long road to Hollywood, starting in 2017 with a trip to Los Angeles Comic Con.
By February of 2018, Hanowski sent a picture to van Kuren of Jim Lee, chief creative officer of DC Comics, reading Amarok. If the Amarok project stopped right there, he would have been happy, van Kuren said.
“Jim Lee had my story cross his desk, how many people can even dream of that?”
The project has grown to an eight-person production crew of professionals across the world with a film trailer expected to come out by the end of this month.
Included in the film project, with three film scripts ready to go, is a digital manga, produced by Francis Martelino out of Manila, Philippines, with pages being released weekly. The first complete saga should be available online around Christmas, Van Kuren said.
The future looks bright for the project, van Kuren said, with plans to bring in Inuit people into the production, as part of the cast of thousands for the upcoming film.