'Brucifer': The Satanic 'Bruce Almighty' Sequel That Never Was
God help Universal Pictures – in an interview with SyFy.com, Bruce Almighty screenwriters Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe revealed their idea for a sequel to the hit 2003 comedy that was shot down by the studio despite support from the film’s star, Jim Carrey. The should-be second installment in the series, fittingly titled “Brucifer,” would have followed Bruce’s literal fall from grace following the death of his bride, Grace, played by Jennifer Anniston.
Instead of an appearance from God, “Brucifer” would have featured Satan stepping up to the plate to offer his assistance to Bruce in the form of lending necromantic powers to the protagonist so that Bruce could save his beloved and don the title of “King of the Damned” in a macabre comedy that was sadly struck down by the studio in favor of the oft-maligned megabudget sequel Evan Almighty.
Sometimes “divine intervention” has bad aim.
Bruce Almighty was the surprise smash hit of 2003, grossing $484 million at the box office on an $81 million budget. On the film’s opening night, Koren and O’Keefe broached the sequel topic to one of the film’s producers, Michael Bostick, and pitched the idea of a polarity shift in the tale of Bruce.
"It was going to be the Trials of Job, essentially," said O’Keefe. "The world had not gone (Bruce’s) way since he was God. Everything was great for a while; he was married and it all fell apart. He was once again questioning everything and then got a different way to solve things." The screenwriter then described Brucifer as "the most cost-effective sequel imaginable," possibly taking a jab at the massive monetary demands of the studio’s chosen sequel.
The producers were unsold on the idea of delving into such serious and potentially upsetting subject matter, admitted Koren. Killing off Aniston and bringing her back from the dead with devil powers was a risky move, but it was one that the duo was sure they could pull off. “It came from a serious place, but we were gonna write it in a very friendly way. We certainly didn’t want to depress people. So I think that scared (the studio) a little bit,” explained Koren.
But the biggest star of the series was on board, according to Koren and O’Keefe, and Carrey had some gory details of his own to add to the resurrection idea. "I remember when we pitched it, (Carrey) was laughing his ass off … Because we had her come back as Jennifer Aniston. He said, ‘No, she has to look like a zombie first and then we'll make her beautiful again.’ We thought that was brilliant," said Koren.
Universal balked at “Brucifer,” choosing instead to move forward with an unrelated family and faith friendly script, originally titled The Passion of the Ark, which they rewrote into Evan Almighty. Koren, O’Keefe, and Carrey were all missing from the production of the 2007 film which fell short of recouping its whopping $175 million budget. Then, when Koren and O’Keefe pitched “Brucifer” once more in 2010, the mediocre performance of Evan Almighty had completely killed the prospect of a third installment.
If Morgan Freeman gave us his powers, we’d make “Brucifer” a reality – and erase Evan Almighty from everyone’s memory.