Bill Condon on How His ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ Subverts and Honors the Original

     October 3, 2017

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With the insanity of The Mummy behind them, Universal’s Dark Universe is forging ahead and the next monster movie on the docket is shaping up to be a much more classical affair. Beauty and the Beast and Dreamgirls director Bill Condon is set to helm a new spin on Bride of Frankenstein and it marks something of a genre homecoming for the filmmaker who won an Oscar for his Gods and Monsters screenplay, which explored the final days of Frankenstein director James Whale.

With Bride of Frankenstein, Condon is once again returning to the legacy of the filmmaker and his iconic horror pictures but without the historical border of a biopic — this time, he’s readapting the material itself through his own vision, working from a script by David Koepp.

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Image via Disney

Condon revealed that Bride of Frankenstein is scheduled to roll into production next February through June, and while the filmmaker is currently gearing up for filming in London, where the director says he plans to shoot most of the film, he was kind enough to take some time for a chat with Collider on the occasion of his Director’s Extended Edition of Dreamgirls, which arrives on Blu-ray and DVD next week. Stay tuned for the full interview, but when it came to Bride of Frankenstein, Condon was happy to share how the dream project came about.

“It’s very rare and I’ve been so lucky, I’ve got to say, between this and Beauty and the Beast, the kind of movies that are being made at studios, you just kind of grow resigned to the fact that that’s not things that you’re going to connect to. But they were both things I heard about, and Bride was something I hear 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 also talked about the responsibility of taking on a film that’s so iconic and beloved.

“The movie is obviously in the pantheon for so many people and I’m one of them. I love that film so much. So I do feel again that responsibility I felt to Dreamgirls, the one I felt to Beauty and the Beast, I feel the same response to what Whale created.”

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Image via Universal Pictures

The director also talked a bit about how the new story subverts the original film, which is to say it’s actually about the Bride, as well as the elements of Whale’s horror classic that he wants to maintain.

“What I love about David Koepp’s script is he 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.”

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