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David Koepp offers updates on Spielberg's Blackhawks, Universal's Bride of Frankenstein, and more

By Josh Weiss
Blackhawks DC Comics

For over three decades, David Koepp has enjoyed a major screenwriting presence in Hollywood, writing notable blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, and Spider-Man. And that's a minuscule selection of the high-profile projects he's been associated with over the years. While he's also journeyed into the realms of directing and novel writing, Koepp continues to remain one of the preeminent cinematic scribes of the entertainment industry. During a recent interview with SYFY WIRE, he exclusively previewed some of his upcoming big screen projects.

First up, we have his fifth big screen collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, which will be an adaptation of DC's Blackawks comic. Currently in the process of rewriting, Koepp hopes to be finished with the script soon. "I just hope it happens," he said, "because it’s so fun and it’s a World War II movie about a squadron of fighter pilots. What could be more fun?" The comic was originally launched in the early 1940s, but eventually received a modern update under New 52 and Rebirth. Learn more about its history here.

Koepp's previous Spielberg efforts were Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Blackhawks DC Comics

Another project coming down the pipeline is a film version of Koepp's first novel, Cold Storage, which he personally adapted into the screenplay. A Westworld and Doctor Who veteran is attached to direct. Now more relevant than ever, the Andromeda Strain-esque book (published last summer) is about a deadly microorganism capable of incredibly fast mutations. Unfortunately, production was just about to get underway when the coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm in March.

"We were ready to go, we were ready to start prep and then COVID hit," Koepp said. "It’s at Paramount, we have a British director named Johnny Campbell, who’s terrific. We’ve got a script we really like; we’ve got a budget everybody seems ok with; we’re just kind of hoping for movies to be able to gear back up again."

Cold Storage

Next, we've got Universal's Bride of Frankenstein movie. Initially set to be part of the studios' shared "Dark Universe," it's allegedly gone through some changes, according to Koepp, who also helped write 2017's The Mummy. Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast) is no longer attached, but John Krasinski (A Quiet Place) could replace him. If the right creative team comes aboard, Angelina Jolie is ready to play the title role.

"That one’s hopefully happening," Koepp added, echoing a similar statement he made in June. "I did a completely different version, it geared up, and was gonna go [into production] a few years ago and then the whole Universal monster thing went through a major rethinking. This is a smaller version — still a big movie, but not hundreds of millions of dollars — and I really like it. Universal is talking to directors about it now, so hopefully, maybe, there will be an announcement soon on that."

Bride of Frankenstein

Lastly, we asked Koepp if he was still writing an adaptation of Sylvain Neuvel's Themis Files book trilogy of Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, and Only Human. The sci-fi series centers around the world-changing revelations that shake humanity after a little girl named Rose Franklin discovers a giant mechanical hand buried deep beneath the ground.

"Not anymore," Koepp admitted of his involvement. "That was a book series that I adapted at Sony, but then they didn’t want to do it as a movie and I was gonna maybe do it as a TV show, but that didn’t come together right. Then the rights reverted back to the author. It’s a great book, though, everybody should check it out. If you’re interested in science fiction, it’s a terrific book."

Themis Files