We’ve all had those “Sliding Doors” moments where we wonder what our lives might be like if something went differently. Usually, they come in the form of major life decisions — promotions, relationships, time spent with loved ones — but sometimes they’re in the form of movies that got away. Reader, I’m having a real “Sliding Doors” moment right now, because I suddenly, desperately need to live in a world where Universal made a “Bruce Almighty” sequel about the devil called, of all things, “Brucifer.”
“Bruce Almighty” screenwriters Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe, who co-wrote the film’s script with Steve Oedekerk, recently spoke to SyFy Wire about the 2003 comedy in which Jim Carrey gains the power of God from Morgan Freeman’s wise, white-clad deity. During the conversation, they opened up about an ultimately scrapped third film that would’ve seen TV reporter Bruce (Carrey) headed in, well, a different direction. “It was going to be the Trials of Job, essentially,” O’Keefe told the outlet. “The world had not gone his 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.”
Carrey Or Freeman Would’ve Played The Devil
That different way, as the writers tell it, would’ve involved Carrey’s character turning to the devil for guidance instead of God. Only, in a twist that O’Keefe says would’ve made the film “the most cost-effective sequel imaginable,” the plan was for either Carrey or Freeman to play Satan himself as well. Though “Bruce Almighty” was a hit at the box office and did garner a sequel (the Steve Carell-led “Evan Almighty”), I can see how the idea for “Brucifer” may have seemed like less of a safe bet than its predecessor. While the films’ vision of God is rather religiously ambiguous — which O’Keefe notes made it relatable rather than offensive — Satan is a much more specific figure, and a darker one.
And it sounds like “Brucifer” would’ve gone pretty dark if it had been made. Koren says the plan was actually for Bruce to lose his wife, Grace (Jennifer Aniston) in the sequel, only to resurrect her after gaining the powers of the devil. He reassures SyFy Wire that it wouldn’t have been an overly-bleak movie, saying, “we were gonna write it in a very friendly way. We certainly didn’t want to depress people.” Meanwhile, Carrey himself was willing to take it to another level, as he reportedly pitched a grotesque twist to the resurrection story. “He said, ‘No, she has to look like a zombie first and then we’ll make her beautiful again,'” Koren told the outlet. “We thought that was brilliant.”
Aniston’s Character Would’ve Been A Zombie
Every detail I hear about “Brucifer” makes me wish it was real, even if it doesn’t necessarily sound like a great film. Killing off Grace feels like an unfortunately predictable next step for a somewhat underwritten character who spent one scene in the first film marveling about how her breasts had suddenly grown as if by magic (it was actually Bruce’s powers, because, sure). But the idea of seeing Freeman as the devil, or better yet, Carrey playing opposite himself as the devil, feels so quintessentially early 2000s comedy that I can’t believe it didn’t happen. If it had been made, I can almost guarantee I would’ve watched it on cable a half-dozen times and internalized all of its silliest jokes by now, because that’s what Jim Carrey comedies do to a person, whether you want them to or not.
While Koren says the plot point about Grace’s death may have “scared [the studio] a little bit,” it sounds like there wasn’t one clear reason why “Brucifer” didn’t end up happening. “It just didn’t work out for some reason, but a lot of people loved it, including Jim,” Koren told the outlet. If I ever meet Morgan Freeman’s God, now I know what I’ll wish for (after the actually important stuff).
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Author: Valerie Ettenhofer
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November 20, 2022