In the wake of this morning's confirmation of Javier Bardem playing Frankenstein's monster in Bride of Frankenstein, the actor jokes about not requiring too much makeup to transform into the iconic character. Aside from producing sequels to old movies, one of the biggest trends in Hollywood today is establishing some form of shared universe. Disney and Warner Bros. have their own, respective comic book universes, while Paramount is knee-deep in developing a Transformers universe. Now, Universal Pictures is getting in on the action with a monsters universe.
Universal first announced plans to cultivate a shared universe based on their iconic monsters from the Golden Age of cinema back in 2014. It was first believed that Gary Shore's Dracula Untold would be the first installment in the new universe, but in actuality, Alex Kurtzman's upcoming film, The Mummy, will be leading the charge next month. Ahead of the film's release, the studio officially unveiled their shared universe this morning, which is now titled the Dark Universe.
Along with the announcement came confirmation of Javier Bardem playing Frankenstein's monster in Bride of Frankenstein, which will be directed by Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon and released in February 2019. While doing press for his upcoming film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Bardem discussed the new role with Screen Rant (prior to today's announcement) and even joked about having the right size head for the part. Here's what he said:
"I can only tell you that I will love to and that there are talks about it, but I cannot really guarantee that that is going to happen or if that is something that’s closed. But, yes, I am very interested and also, they know that I have the head size, so they are not going to waste a lot of money in makeup, which is good. That puts me on the top of the list. [laughs]"
Bardem mentions that things hadn't been confirmed yet (when SR spoke with Bardem last week), though that all changed this morning when Universal Pictures officially confirmed his involvement with the film. Last month, Chris Morgan, who is helping shepherd the Dark Universe, said that each film would be connected, but they would each stand on their own. While it's good that each film is being developed as standalone movies, there needs to be some form of connective tissue for there even to be a shared universe. Unfortunately, Bardem wasn't able to shed any light on that front, saying:
"I cannot tell. I cannot tell. I’m sorry. I know things, but I cannot tell."
It seems like we might not know more about the Dark Universe until after The Mummy releases next month, or until we get closer to events such as San Diego Comic-Con. What we do know is that along with Sofia Boutella playing the Mummy, Russell Crowe playing Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and Tom Cruise playing soldier-of-fortune Nick Morton, Johnny Depp has also been cast the Invisible Man. There is no word on when Depp will make his debut, but expect to see Bardem make his introduction as Frankenstein's monster relatively soon.