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Bill Condon sees his Bride of Frankenstein as a tribute to James Whale

10.04.2017by: Cody Hamman

Bride of Frankenstein Elsa Lanchester Boris Karloff James Whale

The second chapter in the "Dark Universe" that Universal is building around their classic monster properties is a reboot of James Whale's 1935 classic BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, one of the most important films in horror history. There aren't many filmmakers I would trust with the job of updating BRIDE, but Universal has made a strong choice by hiring Bill Condon to take the helm. Twenty years ago, Condon made the film GODS AND MONSTERS, a fictional account of the last days of Whale's life, a film that included flashbacks to the making of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Now he'll be getting a chance to make his own version of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN - and it's a job he had been hoping to get.

Speaking with Collider, Condon said, 

Bride was something I heard about a year and a half ago maybe and was always hoping that if it became real that I could at least take a look at it and talk about it because I’ve thought about it [over] the years. Luckily then they decided that they were going to go ahead and they approached me, so it was one of those things where exactly what you were hoping would happen, did happen."

Condon is now in pre-production on BRIDE in London, with filming scheduled to begin on February 1st, 2018. He'll be working from a screenplay written by David Koepp, which he says 

turns everything on its head. This is Eve before Adam, the bride comes first. So in its own way — you know, we all know the Bride only exists for 10 minutes in the Whale movie; she’s there and the movie’s over. So I keep thinking [it’s], in a way, at least a tribute to what Whale might have done if he’d made a third Frankenstein movie and he’d done it in the 21st Century. I think there are just things about the sensibility of that movie. Also his genius in solving that basic problem you still see when people approach monster movies now, which is you’ve got to create a monster that you’re afraid of, that you’re terrified of, but you can still identify with, and that line was never walked better than by James Whale."

The first Dark Universe movie, this past summer's THE MUMMY, was quite expensive, with a production budget of $125 million. When that film's budget was questioned, word came out that BRIDE would be a smaller character study. The scope isn't shrinking too much, though. Condon told Forbes, 

Bride of Frankenstein isn't a small movie. I've got the same team together that made Beauty and the Beast and we're building big sets and designing big set pieces so it's a pretty big movie."

Javier Bardem is already attached to play the Dark Universe's Frankenstein's Monster, but the actress who will be playing the Bride has still not been cast. Angelina Jolie has long been said to be Universal's top choice, but according to Condon nothing is set and they will be "honing in on" the Bride casting soon.

It was announced yesterday that Joachim Rønning would be directing Jolie in a sequel to the 2014 film MALEFICENT, with production expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018. If that happens, there would be a scheduling conflict with BRIDE and Jolie might be out of the running.

One of the problems some viewers had with THE MUMMY is that the Dark Universe world building seemed to compromise the story - these films are supposed to be connected through a monster hunting organization called Prodigium, and THE MUMMY took a 20 minute detour through Prodigium HQ. Condon promised that his film won't be bogged down in that way.

What I’m doing is 100% making a really good monster movie. It has nothing to do with anything else. Nothing. Zero."

So I guess the Bride won't be having a mid-movie fight with Russell Crowe's Mr. Hyde like Tom Cruise's character did in THE MUMMY.

Bill Condon's BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is scheduled to reach theatres on February 14, 2019.

Extra Tidbit: Are you looking forward to BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN?
Source: ColliderForbes

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