Like his namesake, Adam, Frankenstein was the very first of his kind - but to
this day, he remains alone, with no companionship, no communion with anyone else
who shares his not-quite-human experiences of the world.
Beattie knew that his version of Frankenstein's creature would require an
actor as skilled with complex emotions as with physical action and suspense. The
filmmakers found that unique combination in Aaron Eckhart, known for a wide
range of dramatic and action roles that share in common one thing: a palpable
intensity. His many notable roles have ranged from 'Harvey Dent' aka 'Two-Face'
in The Dark Knight and a soldier fighting aliens in Battle Los Angeles to a
grieving father in Rabbit Hole and a silver-tongued tobacco spokesman in Thank
You for Smoking.
Eckhart also had the strong physical presence to carry off a creature whose
appearance had to be both haunting and intriguing. Says Wright: "Aaron coming on
board crystallized what this character should be for us. Aaron has a fantastic
face. If you're going to get an actor and put scars on his face and make him up
grotesquely you still want him to be good-looking and somebody that the audience
can identify with, both men and women alike. Aaron brought those qualities."
As soon as he took on the role, Eckhart began exploring Adam's inner world -
and his everlasting yearning to know what it would be like to have a human soul.
He saw the character as someone hunting for an identity and a reason for his
confounding existence. "He's a man in search of himself. I think a lot of people
can relate to that," says Eckhart.
Eckhart took a lot of his inspiration from Mary Shelley's original depiction
of Frankenstein's creature. Born from a highly unorthodox scientific experiment,
Shelley's creature is soon reviled and hunted, while longing for kindness and
company. In Eckhart's depiction, even 200 years later he has not yet found any
"Historically the monster of Frankenstein has been considered to be a
vicious, feral character," notes Eckhart. "However in this film and in Mary
Shelley's Frankenstein, yes, he's outwardly scarred but he's also inwardly
scarred, and that was important. But you also see that he was not wanted by his
father, that he has had to fend for himself alone in a dangerous world. You see
that he has always been looking for some kind of love."
With the constant danger Adam is in, Eckhart had to enter into intensive
training for the role for several months. "Among other things, I learned the art
of Kali stick fighting," he explains. "It's a technique of fighting that my
character uses that's very complex and intricate."
Beattie was impressed with Eckhart's ability to embody every aspect of Adam,
including his physical prowess. "There's great joy in having a performer who can
perform the stunts as you photograph them," he muses. "To me, that is part of
the fun of this movie: you're going to see Aaron Eckhart do his stunts and
fights and, my goodness, he does them well; he's amazing."
Grevioux also felt that Eckhart fulfilled on his original vision of a modern
Frankenstein's creature. "Aaron's ability to carry this character was nothing
short of incredible. Here's this very good-looking guy and he's transformed
himself into a monster with more gravitas of any of the previous Frankensteins
that I've ever seen," he summarizes.
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