Universal, ever since it ditched the idea of a shared universe of updated monster movies following the box office flop of ‘The Mummy’ in 2017, has been finding success letting distinct filmmakers put their stamp on classic creature titles.
We’ve had the likes of Leigh Whannel’s take on gaslighting with ‘The Invisible Man’, and to a lesser degree of cash return, this year’s ‘Renfield’, which was a fun spin on toxic relationships with Dracula as the bad boss. The company will also touch on the vampire’s story with the long-gestating ‘The Last Voyage of the Demeter’, due in theaters next week.
Then there are those still bubbling away in the lab, including a ‘Wolfman’ movie to star Ryan Gosling and to be directed by Derek Cianfrance, James Wan handling ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Eternals’ director Chloe Zhao’s ‘Dracula’ and more.
Yet while there had been talk of a ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ redo from ‘Jurassic Park’ writer David Koepp at Universal, other studios are also taking a crack at the idea, which is in the public domain. A24, for example, has a version in development starring Scarlett Johansson.
What’s the story of the original movie?
In James Whale’s 1935 movie, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive), recovering from injuries sustained in the mob attack upon himself and his creation, falls under the control of his former mentor, Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), who insists the now-chastened doctor resume his experiments in creating new life. Meanwhile, the Monster (Boris Karloff) remains on the run from those who wish to destroy him without understanding that his intentions are generally good despite his lack of socialization and self-control.
It also features Elsa Lanchester in the dual role of Mary Shelley (who starts the film telling the next iteration of her classic horror story) and the titular character, built by Frankenstein and appearing towards the end.
The sequel to 1931’s ‘Frankenstein’ was a hit at the box office, earning approximately $2 million, and drawing positive reviews.
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s version
Gyllenhaal, who more than proved her directorial skills with 2021’s Oscar-nominated ‘The Lost Daughter’, is looking to put her own stamp on the tale.
How it’ll be updated (or indeed, who wrote the script if Gyllenhaal herself isn’t pulling double duty) are unknown for now, but World of Reel learned via Production Weekly that she has Christian Bale, Penelope Cruz and Peter Sarsgaard in line to play Dr. Frankenstein, the Bride and an unknown role (possibly the creature?) respectively.
The notion of Gyllenhaal bringing her point of view to the story is certainly a compelling one, and after the success of ‘The Lost Daughter’, we’re certain Netflix will give her the budget and scope to make something fantastic.
Production Weekly mentions a planned early 2024 shoot for the movie, though that will obviously depend on how and when the strikes work out.