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I, FRANKENSTEIN

Frankenstein Re-Created
I, Frankenstein's fresh take on the world's most infamous man-made monster began when Lakeshore Entertainment's Tom Rosenberg optioned the rights to the graphic novel of the same name.

Conceived in the fertile imagination of Underworld creator Kevin Grevioux - an imagination where classic monsters and mythological creatures take on a fierce, contemporary edge - Rosenberg saw the potential to revisit anew one of the most richly resonant characters of all time.

Says Grevioux of his inspiration: "I've been a fan of the universal monsters since I was a kid, and I've always been very interested in pulling them into the modern world. After I co-created Underworld, I thought I might take a crack at Frankenstein, but with a story that deals with the monster instead of Dr. Frankenstein and really gets into who and what the monster is. Lakeshore did such an incredible job producing Underworld, they were the natural people to go to after I finished the script. They really know their way around the genre and they instantly gravitated to this story."

Rosenberg approached Hopscotch Features, the noted Australian production company with whom Lakeshore had collaborated on The Cave, and they too were excited to run with the concept. "We were immediately enthusiastic about the opportunity to reimagine Mary Shelley's infamous character in participation with Lakeshore," says Hopscotch's Andrew Mason. "The idea of Frankenstein's monster, and the rarely seen but captivatingly human side of the character, is hauntingly seductive. The monster is one of the most compelling figures in all of literature and I became increasingly certain that this intensely eventful story was not only inherently cinematic, but also relevant to our times."

In search of someone who could fully capitalize on those cinematic qualities in a story for our times, the producers hit upon screenwriter and director Stuart Beattie, with whom Mason had made the innovative Tomorrow, When The War Began. Beattie is already known for meshing classic characters with modern action in films ranging from The Pirates of the Caribbean to G.I Joe, but this was a chance to completely re-envision a creature that has been a staple of movie history since 1910.

Like the producers, Beattie couldn't resist the concept. He was instantly drawn in by Grevioux's vision of Frankenstein's monster still at large and trying to find his humanity two centuries after he was brought to life. But then he took that appealing concept in his own inventive direction.

Using that idea as a foundation, Beattie forged an entirely original Gothic universe, one where humans are shadowed by fierce demons below and peace-seeking gargoyles above in a battle as eternal as the war between Light and Dark. Then, he put Frankenstein's creation, who calls himself Adam - and the electrifying secrets of his immortal life - at the heart of their quest for supremacy. The result is an up-to-date take on Frankenstein and a story filled with grit, action, humor, romance and the timeless temptations of endless life and power.

Beattie explains, "I went away and I came up with a whole world, story and characters. I was searching for creatures that hadn't really been seen before in films. We've seen vampires, we've seen werewolves, we've seen zombies, so I was looking for something different. Gargoyles and demons seemed to be two cool new things that most people have heard about but maybe don't know that much about. This was the perfect fertile ground for me to create a whole new mythology."

The producers were exhilarated by his epic approach. "We felt our best hope of doing justice to this immensely complicated character was to depict him in the midst of a most complex fight: between the universal forces of good and evil," says Mason. "Stuart uncovered the gripping - and unpredictably human - nature of this character in the greatest battle of his life."

Adds Rosenberg: "Stuart's script was amazing. There was something so fantastical and other-worldly about it, we were all excited to bring it to life."

Gary Lucchesi, president of Lakeshore Entertainment, was equally impressed. "We knew the idea of bringing Frankenstein into contemporary time was the right idea, as was bringing in Stuart Beattie to write and direct. Stuart had such a great take on the story," he says.

The story's creator was also pleased to see where Beattie took the concept. "Stuart has a great sense of the fantastic," says Kevin Grevioux. "He fashioned a very interesting tale, using all his skills, and helped us to create something really cool. He's also a great guy to work with."

As he wrote, Beattie became increasingly fascinated with Frankenstein's creature as someone who for two desolate centuries has grappled with the line between monster and man, always forced to remain on the outskirts of society. Along with Grevioux's graphic novel, he was inspired by Mary Shelley's ground-breaking 1818 novel that introduced the character, but he went further, imagining who that creature would have become in a modern world.

"I think he's a wonderful character," Beattie says, "because he's so alone in the world and who doesn't know what it feels like to be alone? He literally is the only one of his kind and his quest is a search for companionship, it's a search for love, it's a search for purpose and for things I think that audiences all around the world can identify with."

Beattie was also inspired by the tragedy of Frankenstein's origin story in which he was denied a companion who might have made his existence less confounding. That led him to bring Adam into the orbit of a female scientist who is the first human being to ever empathize with him, even as she grapples with the shock that he is real.

"Adam has always wanted someone who he can share his existence with," Beattie says. "From day one he was treated like dirt by his own father, who basically abandoned him at birth. He was run out of town, just because of how he was made, through no fault of his own. When he did go back to his father and ask for the one thing that he needed, someone just like him, his father first agreed to make another, and then at the last second reneged on that promise and denied him that. And since then, I think for 200 years the only thing he has wanted is love."

Producer Richard Wright, who also produced Underworld: Awakening and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, felt the character, as Beattie re-imagined him, resonated in our world. "When I first read the script, I said, 'Stuart has cracked it! He's really done it,'" recalls Wright. "All the things that we were after - to humanize the Frankenstein character, to craft a thrilling story, to come up with worthy opponents, and to forge a new world of compelling creatures - he absolutely nailed each one."

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