Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, the cliche goes, a fate that top filmmakers are still hoping to avoid for a reboot of the iconic movie monster: the Bride of Frankenstein.
In the past year alone, figures like Oscar-nominated producer Amy Pascal and freshmen horror sensation John Krasinski have been quietly exploring ways to reimagine the skunk-haired creature for the cineplex, insiders familiar with the project told Variety.
The property has been in a holding pattern since 2017, when Universal Pictures scuttled a planned constellation of films known as the Dark Universe after the failure of Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy.” One of the entries in the cinematic universe that never came to pass was a Bride of Frankenstein standalone film with director Bill Condon, Angelina Jolie, and Javier Bardem attached.
But thanks to a new creative mandate at the studio for edgier (and more affordable) takes on their characters — including Dracula, Wolfman, the Mummy, and Frankenstein — this bride might walk down theater aisles soon. Especially considering the first monster film made under the new guidelines, Elizabeth Moss’ “The Invisible Man,” is poised for a $20 million opening at the end of February (a strong result given that it was produced under a notoriously lean Blumhouse Productions budget).
The latest suitor for Bride is Pascal, multiple sources said, who just moved her overall production deal to Universal from Sony Pictures last summer. She has floated the property by her former “Spider-Man” collaborator and director Sam Raimi, said two individuals familiar with the conversations. That union is now unlikely, given he’s close to signing on to direct Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” sequel, which shoots in May. Pascal has also engaged screenwriter David Koepp (“Jurassic Park”), who was involved in crafting the defunct Dark Universe pitch for Jolie’s project. Keopp has previously described his vision a liberation tale, about a female monster created for companionship who has quite the opposite in mind. Spokespeople for Raimi, Koepp, and Jolie declined to comment on the matter.
While insiders have for years said that Jolie remains committed to the character as long as the right creative team comes along with it, it’s unclear if she would work with Pascal. Jolie was at the center of one of the most explosive emails leaked in the Sony hack, when Pascal ran that studio’s motion picture group in 2015. A possible reboot of “Cleopatra” starring Jolie was at the topic of a blunt exchange between Pascal and producer Scott Rudin, filled with disparaging remarks about Jolie from Rudin.
In subsequent interviews, Jolie said she was mostly concerned about Pascal and how she was coping with the cyber attack. Another source with knowledge of Jolie’s future plans said she was ready to move on from the character and pursue other projects.
Jolie and Pascal would not be required to share the character, under the new monster mandate at Universal. The film group has made it clear to creatives that they want to shake up the entire canon — evidenced by last November’s announcement of “The Invisible Woman,” an original pitch from director Elizabeth Banks that is said to be wildly different from the Moss film coming this month.
“Amy expressed interest in being involved with The Bride of Frankenstein, and just as the studio has done with numerous other filmmakers, we empowered her to explore a new vision for the Universal monster character and come back with a new and inventive take,” said one Universal Pictures source. “Nothing has been solidified in an official capacity.”
Reps for Pascal and Jolie declined to comment for this story. Universal had no comment.
Krasinki, deep in edits on the sequel to his hit film “A Quiet Place,” also tinkered with an iteration of Bride and other Universal characters last year, sources said. Banks, too, was offered free reign but ultimately zeroed in on “Invisible Woman.” Same goes for Paul Feig, who pivoted to the hybrid concept “Dark Army,” a literal monster mashup of archive ghouls and some original characters he conceived. He will direct as well as produce with partner Laura Fischer through their FeigCo, set up at Universal.