Once upon a time, Universal Studios had ambitions of creating their own Dark Cinematic Universe populated by the vast array of classic movie monsters at their disposal, like The Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein. Bride of Frankenstein was meant to be one such entry in the franchise, led by Angelina Jolie in the lead role, with Bill Condon attached to direct. After plans for the Dark Universe were scrapped, so was Bride of Frankenstein. But filmmaker David Koepp, who wrote the script for the film, recently revealed to Collider that the project, like the Bride herself, may yet rise again.
"That was one thing I did during quarantine - I brought back Bride of Frankenstein into a place where I kind of always wanted it to be. Universal was very gracious to let me try again. Because they had geared up and shut down famously in the Dark Universe fiasco. Well, not fiasco, but disappointment. So I have a version now and they have a version that we all really like. I think they're talking to directors now,"
The original Bride of Frankenstein was a 1935 sequel to Frankenstein. It took its cue from a minor subplot in Mary Shelley's original novel, where Doctor Victor Frankenstein is coerced into making a bride for his monstrous creation in order to give the creature a chance at happiness. The movie is often regarded as one of the greatest sequels in film history, and Koepp hopes to live up to its legacy with a modern reboot that focuses on plot and character development rather than big set pieces:
"It's not the great big, $150 million extravaganza with giant movie stars. It's not as scaled down as Invisible Man but much more reasonable, doable thing, with, I think, a really cool idea and it's all present day."
One of the main criticisms of the intended Dark Universe was its focus on reimagining the Universal Monsters movies as big-budget superhero flicks rather than intense character studies of tragedy and horror like they were originally intended to be. So the Dark Universe gave us a Dracula who was a tortured anti-hero in Dracula Untold, and Tom Cruise as an undead Mummy-hybrid superhero in The Mummy.
It was a series of misfires that audiences and critics tore apart in reviews, along with Universal's plans for their cinematic universe. But David Koepp credits the studio with quickly changing lanes when they saw the direction in which the franchise was headed:
"Not all ideas work out. To their credit, what I really admired about Universal is they threw their hands up and went, 'Hold on. This isn't working out. Let's stop and think for a year or two.' I thought that was really smart. And big corporations don't often do that. There aren't a lot of New Coke moments where they go, 'This is not as we hoped. We're going to stop and go off on this other direction.'"
The latest Universal horror movie, the low-budget The Invisible Man, was a ratings and commercial success, lighting the path for future monster movies. Hopefully, Bride of Frankenstein will be following in its footsteps soon. This news comes from Collider.