Not that long ago, Universal Pictures had the grandest of plans to take its stable of Universal Monsters and build a series of interconnected films dubbed the Dark Universe. However, that plan was quickly abandoned after the failure of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, but maybe the Dark Universe is not as dead as it appeared, because it seems that universe's Angelina Jolie project could still happen.
One of the projects that was in the works before The Mummy strangled the Dark Universe in its crib was a Bride of Frankenstein movie from Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon. It was set to star Oscar winners Javier Bardem and Angelina Jolie. Yet while the Dark Universe may not wind up being what was initially intended, it seems that some people are still interested in making a Bride of Frankenstein movie happen.
According to Variety, Oscar-nominated producer Amy Pascal has been exploring a way to bring the Bride of Frankenstein to the big screen. Last year, Amy Pascal moved her producing deal from Sony Pictures to Universal, where she expressed interest in the Bride of Frankenstein project. The producer has even approached other creatives about it.
Amy Pascal apparently floated the Bride of Frankenstein property to director Sam Raimi, who would have been a buzzy get given his status as a horror icon. But since he is now being lined up for Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it seems unlikely that he will be helming the Bride’s return to the big screen.
Amy Pascal has also reportedly tapped screenwriter David Koepp, who worked on the Bride of Frankenstein pitch for the Angelina Jolie Dark Universe movie. His original take was described as a liberation tale for the female monster. So it is possible that he could be reworking that or coming up with an entirely new take on the Bride of Frankenstein for Amy Pascal.
A Universal Pictures source told Variety that there is nothing official with regards to Amy Pascal’s Bride of Frankenstein movie; simply that the producer expressed interest and the studio empowered her to pursue it and see what new ideas she and her team come up with.
The big question is if Amy Pascal’s film comes together, will Angelina Jolie still be a part of it? According to insiders, Angelina Jolie has remained committed to Bride of Frankenstein so long because the project makes sense and she believes in the creative team. Whether she would work with Amy Pascal though and still be a part of the movie at this point is unclear. Others have also reportedly said that Angelina Jolie is ready to move on from Bride of Frankenstein.
The interesting thing is that even if Angelina Jolie didn’t want to work with Amy Pascal on her Bride of Frankenstein movie, she could still in theory make her own. There is no need for these new Universal Monster movies to connect or match to one another tonally now that the Dark Universe concept has been abandoned.
This month sees the release of The Invisible Man from director Leigh Whannell that stars Elisabeth Moss, but Elizabeth Banks is also working on The Invisible Woman, which is expected to be very different. It doesn’t have to be an 'either or' situation, it seems. In the wake of The Mummy’s failure, Universal is looking to shake things up with edgy ideas and ones that don’t carry quite as high a price tag.
In addition to Amy Pascal, A Quiet Place Part II writer and director John Krasinski was also playing with his own version of a Bride of Frankenstein movie at one point too. But for now, it seems that Amy Pascal has the inside track and we may finally get a Bride of Frankenstein movie sooner rather than later.
So the Dark Universe as it was originally conceived seems to be dead, but Universal’s Monsters will be returning to the big screen nonetheless. Rather than going for an MCU approach, this new Dark Universe is taking a page out of DC’s post-Justice League playbook and focusing on more auteur-driven visions for its monster characters.
Universal’s next monster movie, Blumhouse Productions’ The Invisible Man, opens in theaters on February 28. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest movies.