The she-mate of the creature of Mary Shelley’s imagining is not jilted, just put off for some soul(less) searching. The Universal Pictures version of the “Bride of Frankenstein” which had been moving forward on the production and release schedule of Universal Studios under the direction of Bill Condon, best known for recent Hollywood musicals (Chicago, Beauty and the Beast) has been pushed back for more work on the script with writer David Koepp (The Mummy, Angels & Demons).
The studio released a statement: “After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone ‘Bride of Frankenstein”. 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.”
The lackluster box-office and critical reception for the Tom Cruise starrer “The Mummy”, the first film in Universal’s new “Dark Universe” idea to turn their horror movie library of the past into a modern franchise world like Disney’s Marvel comics superheroes and Warner Bros. DC Comics, finally getting some steam with “Wonderwoman”, has apparently made the studio a little gunshy, and the experiment in rebooting a true classic of horror is causing a few shivers up the spine in the executive suite.
Javier Bardem has been attached to play the monster of Frankenstein’s creation for some time, while Angelina Jolie has recently been in discussions to play the eponymous “Bride”, but she may be putting a sequel to “Malificent” for arch rival Disney in front of the schedule, perhaps allowing more time to rethink the script. In the original 1935 Universal Boris Karloff version of the story, directed by James Whale, which takes its concepts more from the later parts of the novel, left out of the first “Frankenstein”, the female mate the creature demands his creator make for him for a little companionship doesn’t appear until the last few minutes of the movie, and then just sort of freaks out like a mail order bride getting a look at her scary husband for the first time.
The bride story was always a bit of a flight of fancy. In the novel, Victor Frankenstein only briefly attempts to make a female mate, gathering a few “materials” for the gruesome task but doesn’t complete it, deciding that creating a franchise race of monsters was a rather horrific idea. But since the intent of the Dark Universe idea is to build a franchise world, in this rebooting of a pure movie story, the “Bride” in the title gets to be a major character, befitting a star for the role, though what sort of kitchen table discussions the creature couple might have is of curious conjecture.
Production of the film was set to start in February of 2018 in London, but the decision was made to hold pre-production to allow some time to sharpen the script for the vision Condon and Koepp have for the film, lest the audience have the same reaction to their creation as Elsa Lancaster’s creature bride did the first time around.