The long-gestating remake of Universal’s 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein looks set to rise from the dead, with Spider-Man: Far From Home and Little Women producer Amy Pascal pulling the strings. Angelina Jolie is still loosely attached to star.
Trade paper Variety reports that Pascal – who recently moved her production deal from Sony Pictures to Universal Pictures – has been working with Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp on the property and approached Evil Dead director Sam Raimi to collaborate. The Spider-Man director has since moved on and is currently said to be circling Marvel Studios sequel Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness.
The report also suggests that A Quiet Place director John Krasinski worked on a pitch for the film in 2019, but it’s not clear whether he’s still involved with Pascal’s version in any capacity.
A reboot of the 1935 horror classic, directed by James Whale and starring Elsa Lanchester in the title role, has been in development at the studio since the early noughties. The original was a direct sequel to 1931’s Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff, and saw Frankenstein compelled to create a mate for his creation.
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The most recent iteration was due to be directed by Bill Condon (who won an Oscar for his James Whale biopic Gods and Monsters), from a script by David Koepp, starring Angelina Jolie as the Bride and Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster. Set for release in February 2019, it was officially “paused” by the studio in 2017.
Condon later reflected on the film calling it “a really gooey, bloody movie, with a wonderful script” in an interview with Curzon Cinemas.
In 2016, Koepp described his take on the film as “a tale of liberation”.
“It’s one of my favourite scripts I’ve written in years because if you reimagine the Frankenstein story, it gets into so many issues of men trying to feel dominant over women,” the screenwriter told Collider. “To create someone who then says, ‘You don’t own me,’ it becomes a tale of liberation.”
“She’s not a zombie,” he adds. “She’s a super-intelligent creature, but she’s dead, and that changes a person’s perspective.”
The new report claims that Jolie is still loosely attached to the project “as long as the right creative team comes along with it”, but adds that Jolie’s relationship with Pascal became fractured following the Sony email hack in 2014.
Leaked emails between Pascal, then co-chairwoman of Sony Pictures, and producer Scott Rudin included several disparaging remarks about Jolie.
This new reboot is part of Universal’s ongoing plan to revive its back catalogue of iconic “monster” properties. Following the disappointment of the Dark Universe project, which failed to launch a shared movie universe of horror icons after Tom Cruise’s 2017 The Mummy flopped, the studio has taken a more back-to-basics approach.
With no pressure for the properties to connect in any way, Universal has been developing individual projects with interesting filmmakers, with Leigh Whannell’s upcoming The Invisible Man the first film developed under the new remit out of the gate.
Elizabeth Banks is also developing The Invisible Woman, Dexter Fletcher is signed up for Renfield, a movie centred on Dracula's servant R.M. Renfield, while Paul Feig is working on an original property called Dark Army which will unite classic characters with new monsters.
The Invisible Man starring Elisabeth Moss comes to UK cinemas on 28 February. Watch a trailer below.