Before Universal’s Dark Universe project imploded, a Bride Of Frankenstein remake was firmly in development – and details have emerged.

With movies like Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible on his CV, screenwriter David Koepp knows a thing or two about how to write a franchise-building script. More importantly, he also understands how to make sure that script is a supremely watchable film in its own right. This was a lesson that the first film in Universal’s fledgling Dark Universe franchise failed to remember, as the Tom Cruise-starring The Mummy launched to tepid reviews and effectively killed off enthusiasm for any more films in the series.

Before its premature end, Koepp was involved in the Dark Universe, drafting a screenplay for a Bride Of Frankenstein project that Angelina Jolie was rumoured at the time to be attached to. Javier Bardem was definitely involved and set to play Frankenstein’s monster, appearing in the infamous publicity still for the Dark Universe alongside Cruise, Depp and others.

Koepp has spoken to Collider a little about two different versions of the project that he got a crack at, and seems sanguine about the project’s fate. “I did a couple different versions. That one was a dramatic history. It was gearing up, it was gonna be a great big movie. Bill Condon was gonna direct it and then The Mummy detonated and that all fell apart. Then I did a much smaller version and I thought that was interesting, but that didn’t quite work out. I think someone else is taking a try now”, he said.

It’s not surprising that Universal is still developing the film, given its rich history and the creative freedom it can offer filmmakers now the project is unshackled from the creative restrictions of a shared universe. Koepp also revealed one key detail about what we suspect was the big-budget Jolie/Bardem version, adding “it was going to be a very big lavish, beautiful, gothic horror production. And one idea I liked was the first 30 or 40 pages took place in the 1870s as the Frankenstein movies do and then she became sort of inert for 150 years and was rediscovered and reawakened in the present day. And I thought that was cool”.

Bringing the tale into the present day would have allowed the characters to then engage with Cruise, Russell Crowe and other characters from the Dark Universe and whilst that would have been fun to see, we can’t say that we’re too sad it didn’t happen considering the exciting nature of the Universal monsters projects that have since replaced it. Perhaps one day Koepp will offer more details into what his ‘smaller’ story would have been, but until a Bride Of Frankenstein remake does emerge, we’ll continue to be thankful for the 1935 classic directed by the brilliant James Whale…

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