Bride of Frankenstein director Bill Condon has revealed when the Dark Universe remake of the Universal monster movie classic will start filming. In late 2015, Universal Studios began a new initiative by unearthing several of its classic horror movie titles to remake for audiences in the modern age, beginning with the Tom Cruise-starring vehicle The Mummy.
The Dark Universe has a structure akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Movie Universe – except that instead of superheroes, the Dark Universe features new versions of classic monsters made famous by the likes of screen legends Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr., all of which exist in a shared universe. The first entry in the franchise, Cruise’s The Mummy, was met with mixed audience reactions and poor reviews domestically; yet found hope when crowds overseas help push the global cume of the film past $407 million (only $80 million of which was earned domestically).
No matter how The Mummy was received, it was always in Universal’s plans to proceed with its new version of Bride of Frankenstein, with Beauty and the Beast director and Gods and Monsters’ Oscar-winning screenwriter Bill Condon at the helm. In a new interview with Forbes, Condon talked a bit about his status of the remake and why the film has a deep, personal meaning to him (after all, Gods and Monsters chronicles the story of Bride of Frankenstein director James Whale during the making of his classic film):
We start on February 1st, 2018 so it’s the early days but just to be here in London, starting to see locations and to talk about sets that we’re building, it’s very exciting. For me, the James Whale movie is really right there in the pantheon for me. As you know, the Bride is a character who appears in the last five minutes and then is destroyed so it’s a way to almost continue the movie that you imagine the movie he might have made the third Frankenstein movie but in 2018.
By the sound of things, Condon isn’t planning to do a note-by-note remake of Whale’s original film, but expand the narrative to include much more of The Bride. While Oscar winner Javier Bardem is already in place to play Frankenstein’s monster, it appears that whoever Condon casts as the titular character has ample time to shine. As to whether The Bride will be Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie – whose been long-rumored to play the role – Condon isn’t ready to make that proclamation just yet:
“Not yet, no. Nothing is set yet. I think pretty soon but I think we’re trying to figure that out now but obviously, pretty soon we’re going to have to start really honing in on it. I’m not trying to be coy but I really shouldn’t say.”
Jolie is gearing up to start filming on Maleficent 2 around the same time that Bride of Frankenstein begins production, so that presumably takes her out of the running for the eponymous role in Condon’s movie. Beyond that, few details are known about Condon’s take on the Bride of Frankenstein’s story, other than – like The Mummy before it – the reboot (and all future Dark Universe installments) is slated to take place primarily in the present-day. That would be a significant departure from the Gothic period setting of the 1935 original (starring Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster and Elsa Lanchester in the titular role), should that prove to be the case.
Whatever direction the film goes in, Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein needs to be more of an outright success than The Mummy was, if Unviersal’s plans for other Dark Universe titles – including The Invisible Man (starring Johnny Depp), The Wolfman and Creature From the Black Lagoon – are to ever see the light of day.
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