Director Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein has “zero” ties to the rest of Universal’s Dark Universe

5 min read
3

Universal’s monster-centric Dark Universe did not get off to a good start with The Mummy. At least critically that is, as the Tom Cruise-led reboot of the classic movie monster franchise earned a fair bit of cash thanks to China. With that commercial success, Universal can now get going with their next chapter in their shared Dark Universe… a chapter that apparently won’t have much to do with the rest of it.

That’s according to director Bill Condon whose reboot of the James Whale’s 1935 monster movie classic Bride of Frankenstein is scheduled to be the next installment. The director spoke to Collider about the production, explaining that we should not expect to see Cruise showing up in this film at all.

I will tell you this — what I’m doing is 100% making a really good monster movie. It has nothing to do with anything else. Nothing. Zero.

While I think that Condon’s desire to make Bride of Frankenstein completely standalone, I have a feeling that the suits on the Universal lot may still have a thing or two to say about this. At the very least though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyl and his Prodigium organization getting a mention or even a cameo – the secret monster hunting organization has been primed as the connective tissue of the Dark Universe after all.

Of course, making this a standalone presents a different challenge: How can you have a Bride of Frankenstein, when you haven’t even shown Frankenstein’s monster itself? Javier Bardem has been tapped to play the resurrected monster, but his movie is still way down the pipeline. According to Condon though, screenwriter David Koepp has found a way to tell this story that doesn’t only make sense but also pays homage to Whale’s original sequel to his 1931 Frankenstein classic.

What I love about David Koepp’s script is he turns everything on its head. This is Eve before Adam, the bride comes first. So in its own way — you know, we all know the Bride only exists for 10 minutes in the Whale movie; she’s there and the movie’s over. So I keep thinking [it’s], in a way, at least a tribute to what Whale might have done if he’d made a third Frankenstein movie and he’d done it in the 21st Century. I think there are just things about the sensibility of that movie. Also his genius in solving that basic problem you still see when people approach monster movies now, which is you’ve got to create a monster that you’re afraid of, that you’re terrified of, but you can still identify with, and that line was never walked better than by James Whale.

I think there are just things about the sensibility of that movie. Also his genius in solving that basic problem you still see when people approach monster movies now, which is you’ve got to create a monster that you’re afraid of, that you’re terrified of, but you can still identify with, and that line was never walked better than by James Whale.

Making a movie monster relateable will depend a lot on the actor bringing that character to life on screen. In this case, Universal certainly has its eye on a capable thespian in Angelina Jolie. But while the Oscar-winning actress’ name has been spoken in the same breath as Bride of Frankenstein almost since inception, Jolie has actually not committed to the role yet. So when will her deal be finalized?

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.

Condon, who is just coming off the record-breaking success of Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast earlier in the year, also went on to talk about shooting the film. Scheduled to be released on 14 February 2019, production on Bride of Frankenstein is set to star in just four months.

I’ve got the same team together that made Beauty and the Beast and we’re building big sets and designing big set pieces, so it’s a pretty big movie… 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.

In a way, Condon is the perfect choice to direct Bride of Frankenstein. After starting out working in the TV industry and helming the very poor sequel to Candyman, Condon had his breakout in 1998 when he wrote and directed Gods and Monsters, and adaptation of Christopher Bram’s novel telling of the last days of none other than James Whale. Gods and Monsters’ adapted screenplay won Condon an Oscar and set him up as an A-list filmmaker in Hollywood. Now he’s coming full circle with this monstrous tale.

Last Updated: January 16, 2018

Read  Tomb Raider and the suppression of heroine agency

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

Check Also

Tomb Raider and the suppression of heroine agency

Hollywood is evidently at it again: taking iconic video game heroine Lara Croft and de-pow…