Exclusive: Paul Feig Talks Universal Monsters for Dark Army!
Universal Pictures and Emmy-nominated writer/director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy, Ghostbusters) are teaming up on a new monster movie, Dark Army. ComingSoon.net got the chance to speak 1:1 with Feig at the Last Christmas junket today, and he gave us the lowdown on the new Universal Monsters project!
ComingSoon.net: This being the Halloween season, can you tell us what growing up with the Universal Monsters meant to you and how that might dovetail into “Dark Army”?
Paul Feig: I’m a mega-fan of those old horror movies. I call them more monster movies than horror movies, quite frankly. Horror movies to me now represent slasher and that kind of thing, which I don’t enjoy at all. I loved those old movies like “Frankenstein.” “Bride of Frankenstein” is probably one of the greatest movies of all-time. I love that movie so much, and there are some things from that movie that I’m using in this new movie “Dark Army.” But I really want to do a James Whale-ish, modern day version of a monster movie that is about these characters. What I love about monsters is they’re outsiders, it’s just the most extreme version of outsiders. Frankenstein is one of the most sympathetic characters ever to be put on the screen, even though he does terrible things. He’s just looking for acceptance and love. If you read Mary Shelley’s book he’s a pure spirit who becomes evil because he just gets shit on constantly. Everybody just can’t get past the way he looks, and it turns him murderous. (laughs) That’s the extreme version of that kind of thing, but I love that feel. I want to bring that ookie spookie feel back to movies, but with these monsters you root for and understand at the same time. I finished the first draft of the script and I’m so excited about it! I’m literally on fire about getting this movie made as soon as I can. I turned it into the Dark Universe people last week and they loved it. Now it’s going over to the heads of Universal, so we’ll see.
CS: You mentioned James Whale as inspiration. Does that mean there will be that layer of camp and satire to it?
Feig: You know, I want that level of humor in there. He took it seriously, but he’s still going, “We’re gonna have fun with this.” There’s side characters that are fun. There’s stuff that’s a little over-the-top but in a real way, like you buy it? You buy those characters even though they’re way over-the-top. I never go, “Oh, they’re just all going look at how crazy we are, let’s make these ridiculous.” No. These are just extreme personalities. I’m so excited to do this! I just hope they let me do it.
It has not yet been confirmed how the new film, based on an original idea by Feig, will tie into Universal’s Monster universe. Characters from the studio’s classic monster library will appear alongside original characters created by Feig. The film will not connect “to a larger universe of monsters.”
Feig’s recent writing and directing credits include A Simple Favor, Ghostbusters, Spy, The Heat, Bridesmaids, and The Office. His upcoming projects include the romance comedy Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson, and Henry Golding, and the TV movie Girls Code. He will also be producing a number of upcoming titles, including HBO Max’s Love Life, Lionsgate TV’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Universal’s When Michael Met Carrie…and Other People, and 20th Century Fox’s American Princess.
Dark Army is Universal’s latest monster movie project stemming from the studio’s now-defunct Dark Universe, following Blumhouse’s upcoming The Invisible Man film directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Elisabeth Moss, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as the titular character.