The Bride of Frankenstein screenwriter reveals the details about the film’s story and how The Mummy bombing at the box office impacted the movie.
Story details have finally been revealed about The Dark Universe plans for Bride of Frankenstein according to the film’s director. In 2015, David Koepp (spider-man) signed on to pen the script for a remake of the 1935 Universal Horror film, Bride of Frankenstein. The film was conceived as part of a shared cinematic universe titled to compete with the MCU and DCEU The Dark Universe.
The first of the planned Dark Universe installations was 2017’s The Mummy, which Koepp helped pen the script for. a month before The Mummy’s released, Bride of Frankenstein started to take shape as, hot off the massive success of Beauty and the BeastBill Condon was set to direct and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) was set to play Frankenstein’s monster, with Angelina Jolie (Eternals) set to play the titular Bride. However, The Mummy bombed at the box office and all plans for a shared universe were scrapped in favor of stand-alone reimaginings like 2020’s The Invisible Man.
In an interview with ColliderKoepp reveals the plans for Bride of Frankenstein. The film would have been split across two time periods, with the beginning set in the 1870s while the latter half of the story would be set 150 years later when the Bride awakens in 2020. The movie was envisioned as a big gothic horror film although Koepp did try to pen a smaller scale adaptation after The Mummy bombed. Still, he reveals that the project didn’t quite work. Read Koepp’s full quote below:
“I did a couple different versions. That one was a dramatic history. It was gearing up, it was gonna be a great big movie. Bill Condon was gonna direct it and then The Mummy detonated and that all fell apart. Then I did a much smaller version and I thought that was interesting, but that didn’t quite work out. I think someone else is taking a try now. So, I don’t know. I felt like Bride Of Frankenstein is a treasure obviously and it doesn’t ‘t belong to me. And I got two really good cracks at it, so definitely fair to let someone else have a try. So I don’t know what will work out with that…It was going to be a very big lavish, beautiful, gothic horror production.And one idea I liked was the first thirty or forty pages took place in the 1870s as the Frankenstein movies do and then she became sort of inert for 150 years and was rediscovered and reawakened in the present day. And I thought that was cool.”
Bride of Frankenstein was close to filming in 2018 before filming was delayed in October 2017 and the movie was removed from Universal’s release schedule. It was previously set for release on February 14, 2019. Those attached to the project have hinted that they are still interested in making a version of the movie, with Koepp revealing in 2020 that he was reworking the script and the studio was looking for directors . However, it appears the film has become less of a priority as Universal right now is focused on the Nicholas Cage Dracula film Reinfeld and the Ryan Gosling led Wolfman remake.
The Dark Universe remains one of the great “what could have been” stories in Hollywood, and one wonders if the franchise could have even recovered if Bride of Frankenstein had gone over as planned. It’s possible it might have fared better than The Mummy thanks to what sounds like an interesting script and Jolie’s involvement. There always remains the chance that Universal Pictures decides to revive Bride of Frankenstein concept, as the character is an iconic piece of cinema and the studio could even bring Jolie and Bardem back on board the project. However, it appears the version as previously planned will remain an artifact lost to time.
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