Studio allegedly greenlit Jolie’s critically derided film By the Sea in the hope she will light up its plans for a horror ‘cinematic universe’, says report
Jolie recently directed the arthouse drama By the Sea, in which she stars opposite her husband Brad Pitt, for the studio. The film is likely to haemorrhage $40m, according to the US trade bible, but studio executives could be hoping their support for Jolie’s poorly reviewed passion project will help pave the way for the actor to take the lead role in their planned horror.
Universal is planning a “cinematic universe” based on its rights to classic horror stalwarts such as Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Wolfman, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The original Bride of Frankenstein, from 1935, starred Elsa Lanchester as the Bride and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster, the latter returning from director James Whale’s earlier 1931 horror smash Frankenstein. Featuring a version of the monster who has learned to talk, it is considered by many critics to be Whale’s masterpiece.
If Jolie proves less than keen on the horror role, Universal may instead persuade her to reprise her role as assassin Fox, in a sequel to the 2008 comic-book hit Wanted. The actor remains a huge pull when pitched to audiences in the right projects: the 2014 Disney revisionist fairytale fantasy Maleficent, which was built around Jolie in the title role, took $758m worldwide, despite distinctly lukewarm reviews.
Universal would appear to be taking something of a gamble on greenlighting the Oscar-winning actor’s non-commercial directorial ventures if it expects her to star in blockbuster fantasy fare by way of return. Jolie, for whom By the Sea is her third film as director, has said in interviews that she no longer enjoys acting and sees her future career behind the camera.
The studio is certainly going out of its way to keep Jolie happy. The Hollywood Reporter suggests the director was given full control over marketing for By the Sea, leading to posters featuring a pair of hats – rather than a focus on the two best-known actors in Hollywood starring in their first movie together since 2005’s Mr and Mrs Smith.
This article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 24th November 2015 11.28 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010