On the heels of director Bill Condon’s remarks that his upcoming Bride of Frankenstein movie would have “nothing to do with” Universal’s Dark Universe comes word that the film will not begin shooting early next year as planned. Instead, the production is taking a time out to rework its script.
Elsa Lanchester in 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein. Image: Universal
As Deadline first reported, pre-production was already underway in London, with actors Javier Bardem and Angelina Jolie (as Frankenstein’s Monster and Bride) in talks to headline the film’s cast. Filming on Bride of Frankenstein was supposed to begin February 1, but that start date is off the table now, with the script back in writer David Koepp’s hands for retooling. However, the film is merely “postponed”, according to a statement from Universal:
None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.
Deadline also notes that the delay doesn’t mean Bardem and Jolie will abandon the project; they’re just waiting to see what happens with the script before they make it official.
Director Condon’s most recent film was the blockbuster Beauty and the Beast adaptation, but he first gained widespread acclaim for 1998’s Gods and Monsters, about the last days of original Bride of Frankenstein director James Whale. Obviously, while the new Bride of Frankenstein will be a big-budget affair filled with movie stars, it’s also a project with deep personal meaning for Condon, so it isn’t that surprising that he’d be willing to wait longer to get the script right. As for screenwriter Koepp, he said almost a year ago that the movie would have a more feminist bent than the original, with a highly intelligent Bride character who takes control of her own destiny.
That certainly sounded promising at the time, but that was before anyone had seen The Mummy — a truly terrible movie met with such derision that it put the future of Universal’s much-hyped “Dark Universe” of monster movies in doubt. Obviously, Universal wants to protect the future of this potentially valuable franchise, so the next film in this shared universe will need to be both a critical and box-office smash. Hopefully, bumping the production start date — the film was originally slated to come out in the US 14 February 2019; as of today, it’s officially off the schedule — will give all involved enough time to make sure Bride is truly ready for take-off.