A ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ movie was inches away from being made, before Universal slammed on the breaks in October 2017, following the disastrous performance of the Tom Cruise-fronted ‘Mummy’. Bill Condon was attached to direct, and although she hadn’t officially signed on, Angelina Jolie was expected to star, with Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s male monster. Pre-production was underway in London, when word came down for the crew to go home. And that was that.
But it seems that producer Amy Pascal may revive the project. Pascal just moved her development deal over to Universe last year, after having spent years at Sony, where she produced, among other projects, the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise.
Said one Universal insider:
“Amy expressed interest in being involved with The Bride of Frankenstein, and just as the studio has done with numerous other filmmakers, we empowered her to explore a new vision for the Universal monster character and come back with a new and inventive take. Nothing has been solidified in an official capacity.”
Universal is determined to mine its rich classic monster franchises, but after the big-budget flop of ‘The Mummy’, is exploring lower-priced options. The first product to come from this approach, ‘The Invisible Man’, co-produced by budget horror hitmakers Blumhouse, arrives at the end of the month. (Via Variety, it is projected to make about $20 million on opening weekend.)
According to insiders, Pascal offered ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ to her old ‘Spider-Man’ collaborator, Sam Raimi, but the news that he is close to a deal with Disney to direct ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ makes it seem unlikely that he will take this offer.
She has also reportedly spoken to David Koepp, one of the writers (along with Neil Burger, Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan, and Dirk Wittenborn) who worked on the Jolie/Condon screenplay. Koepp also co-wrote ‘The Mummy’, and was heavily involved in crafting what Universal was calling its Dark Universe. Among his past credits are the original ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’, the first ‘Spider-Man’, and Disney’s upcoming ‘Indiana Jones’ project.
As for Jolie, well…
Remember those leaked Sony emails from 2015? Well, it seems that among them were exchanges between Pascal and producer Scott Rudin regarding a proposed remake of ‘Cleopatra’ starring Jolie.
Among Rudin’s words (NOT Pascal’s) were (via The Wrap):
“Kill me please. Immediately.”
“I’m not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie. I have no desire to be making a movie with her, or anybody, that she runs and that we don’t. She’s a camp event and a celebrity and that’s all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming.”
Granted those were Rudin’s words, so there may be a way that Pascal and Jolie could work together.
Reportedly, Universal is offering certain creators carte blanche to cherry-pick from its monster library. That’s how Elizabeth Banks wound up signing on to direct, produce, and star in ‘The Invisible Woman’, a remake of a 1940 “screwball comedy” that was only tangentially connected to the earlier, scary ‘Invisible Man’ movies. This picture will most likely not be connected at all to the upcoming ‘Invisible Man’.
Paul Feig is reportedly using a few existing Universal monsters in his picture ‘Dark Army’, which will also incorporate original creations. ‘Rocketman’s Dexter Fletcher is developing a movie focusing on Dracula’s henchman, ‘Renfield’. And just announced, music video director Matt Stawski (Cee-Lo Green’s ‘F*** You’) is building a movie around the perennial novelty song ‘Monster Mash’.
The studio reportedly approached ‘A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski about tackling some classic monsters, including the ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, last year. It’s unknown if he might still be considering working on one.
How would you like to see Universal handle their monsters? Check back for updates!