June 18, 2009 / 6:22 AM / in 10 years

"Bride of Frankenstein" to live again

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are breathing new life into “Bride of Frankenstein.”

The companies are in talks with Neil Burger to write and direct their long-stirring remake of the 1935 monster movie. Burger, who would pen the script with writing partner Dirk Wittenborn, wrote and directed “The Illusionist,” the 2006 Edward Norton magician mystery.

James Whale’s “Bride of Frankenstein,” which starred Boris Karloff as the monster and Elsa Lanchester as the titular bride, continued the story that began with 1931’s “Frankenstein.” A monster, on the run from an angry mob, has a series of adventures and persuades Dr. Frankenstein to create a mate for him.

“Bride” has had a series of stops and starts. About five years ago, “American Splendor” screenwriters Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini were on board to write the screenplay for the Universal/Imagine update. Their concept was to set the picture in contemporary New York, with a young woman dying and then brought back to life. (Burger’s version is expected to differ significantly from that concept.) Jacob Estes, a writer on “Spider-Man” spin-off “Venom,” also at one point had been attached to the project to write a draft.

Universal is eager to develop reboots of its library of classic monster titles, insiders in the development community said. It is developing a new version of “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” the 1954 Jack Arnold pic about a monstrous fish that a group of travelers encounters in the Amazon, and later this year it will release the Benicio Del Toro-toplined “The Wolf Man,” an update on George Waggner’s 1941 werewolf tale.

“Frankenstein” has been remade numerous times — Mary Shelley’s 19th-century novel sits in the public domain — but “Bride” has had only one other go-round on the big screen: a 1985 version starring Sting and Jennifer Beals. In 1999, Bill Condon’s “Gods and Monsters,” a biopic of Whale, included clips from the original film and re-created the bride herself. Now a man known for cinematic illusions is going to try to do the same.

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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