Javier Bardem In Talks To Join Universal’s Monster Movie Franchise As Frankenstein

Academy Award-winner Javier Bardem is in talks to play Frankenstein in Universal’s planned monster franchise movies. Assuming he takes the role, Bardem would join a roster that already includes Tom Cruise in The Mummy, Johnny Depp in The Invisible Man, and Russell Crowe in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Deadline.com reports. It is unclear how they plan to incorporate Frankenstein into the interconnected slate being overseen by Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan. Nor is it clear if a stand-alone movie would be a part of the deal.

As of now, Universal has announced release dates for three movies: The Mummy, directed by Kurtzman, has a June 9, 2017, release date; and the yet-to-be-announced titles are set for April 13, 2018, and February 15, 2019. Bardem’s casting news comes amid rumors that Dwayne Johnson is being courted to star in The Wolf Man.

Universal’s 2018 slated Frankenstein film will be an update of the classic big screen sequel, Bride of Frankenstein. It’s worth noting that 2018 will mark the 200th anniversary of the original Mary Shelley novel. The English author started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley’s name first appeared on the second edition, published in France in 1823. It tells the story of young science student Victor Frankenstein, “who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.”

There are thousands of films based directly or indirectly on Frankenstein’s monster, and many feature films have been released between 1910 and 1994 based on Shelley’s novel. The new Universal Monsters movies are said to be part of the studio’s “New initiative to revive and reimagine Universal’s classic monsters for a modern audience.”

Frankenstein’s most recent appearances in live action include being played by Shuler Hensley in 2004’s Van Helsing, Aaron Eckhart in I, Frankenstein, and Spencer Wilding in Victor Frankenstein(see trailer below).

Bardem is best known for his role in the 2007 film No Country for Old Men, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The Spanish actor has also won a Screen Actors Guild Award, five Goya Awards, two European Film Awards, a Prize for Best Actor at Cannes and two Volpi Cups at Venice. He is the first Spaniard to be nominated for an Oscar, Best Actor in 2000, for his performance in Before Night Falls. He is also the first Spanish actor to win an Academy Award.

In 2007, Javier began dating actress Penélope Cruz, his co-star in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The famously private couple married in July of 2010 in the Bahamas, and they have two children. Cruz and Bardem faced heavy criticism and risked being blacklisted in Hollywood back in 2014 when they supported Gaza and signed an open Spanish letter condemning the actions of Israel as “genocide.”

As the Independent.co.uk reported, Penelope followed up with clarification of the letter, in which she said her “only wish and intention” in signing it was to promote “peace in both Israel and Gaza.”

Many Hollywood actors and professionals gave the couple the side-eye, with Jon Voight writing his own open letter declaring that Cruz and Bardem should “hang your heads in shame” for adding to the “fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world.”

Javier Bardem was most recently seen in Sean Penn’s The Last Face, and is currently filming Darren Aronofsky’s untitled film opposite Jennifer Lawrence. He also appears in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which opens next summer.

How do you like Javier Bardem as the new Frankenstein monster? Let us know in the comments below!

[Photo by Abraham Caro Marin/AP Images]