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
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
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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