Bride of Frankenstein

While the reviews for The Mummy haven’t been kind so far, Universal has gone all-in on their Dark Universe plans, which will unite all of their classic monsters in a Marvel-style cinematic universe. It remains to be seen if Tom Cruise fighting the Egyptian undead will pack theaters this weekend, but director Alex Kurtzman, one of the franchise’s stewards, is already doing his part to make sure everyone knows that there is more on the way – he’s talking up the upcoming Bride of Frankenstein.

Specifically, he’s calling the screenplay for the remake of the 1935 classic “brilliant” and promising a “relatable” relationship between Frankenstein’s monster and his bride.

Set to be released on February 14, 2019, Bride of Frankenstein was written by veteran screenwriter David Koepp and Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon is on board to helm. Speaking with Den of Geek, Kurtzman claims that their new version will do what the original did not – it will make the Bride an actual character:

David Koepp wrote a brilliant script. A brilliant script with a very unique structure and a central relationship that I think is gonna be relatable to a lot of people while also being very true to what I believe people love about Bride. Here’s the weird thing about Bride Of Frankenstein. It is one of the weirdest movies you’ll ever see in your life. It is such a strange film. What amazes me is that the bride doesn’t show up until, what, the last ten minutes of the film? Doesn’t say anything, rejects Frankenstein, he pulls a lever and the building explodes and that’s the end of it. It’s not like she has long monologues, it’s not like you get to know her character, it’s not like she goes out into the world. There’s almost no screen time with her.

And yet everybody remembers the iconic look, the hair, who she was. Articles have been written, there’s Halloween costumes. It’s an enduring character because there’s something mysterious about her and that look, and the idea that she was created to serve another man. Which is gonna be an interesting thing to tackle in this day and age. It might be something we subvert in our film. It will be really interesting to see where we go because I actually think that Bride is maybe a lot more accessible as a character than you may think. Mostly because she’s not really a character yet based on the original Bride Of Frankenstein.

And while fans of the Universal monsters may want to grab their pitchforks and torches at the mere suggestion that a modern day remake can improve upon the best, weirdest, and most perfect of Universal’s early horror movies, Kurtzman does have a point. While Bride of Frankenstein is one of my favorite movies of all time and Elsa Lanchester’s performance is undoubtedly iconic, she doesn’t have much to do in the movie that uses her name in the title. Pop culture has done a fine job of filling in the blanks over the decades, but no film has defined her in the way that Boris Karloff defined her counterpart in his appearances.

With Dark Universe being set in present day, Kurtzman’s comments make me wonder if the Bride and the monster (set to be played by Javier Bardem) will be an estranged couple and if the film will explore their dynamic and how two people constructed out of dead body parts just get by in the world. There’s surely going to be some kind of action/adventure hook, but I’d kill to see a modestly-sized chiller about these two and their surely complicated relationship with one another.

Here’s what we do know. Director Bill Condon is a huge Universal monsters fan – he directed the great James Whale biopic Gods and Monsters and has slipped monsters references into several of his movies, including a Bride of Frankenstein cameo in his Twilight: Breaking Dawn. We also know that Universal wants the Bride to be played by a huge star and have been courting Angelina Jolie for several years now. Anything beyond that is speculation at this point.

We’ll probably know more about Dark Universe after The Mummy opens this weekend.

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