After it was first announced that Shawn Levy (Real Steel) had come aboard to direct a new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein nearly a year ago, development on 20th Century Fox’s redo slowed considerably. Levy told Steve earlier this year that he planned on using motion-capture for the monster, but he and screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle) were faced with a competing Frankenstein film by way of the the Aaron Eckhart-fronted I, Frankenstein, which has already wrapped production and is due for release next year.
Now it appears that Levy is off the project completely, as Lucky Number Slevin helmer Paul McGuigan has entered talks to direct. Hit the jump for more.
Variety reports that McGuigan is now in final talks to take the helm for Fox. Apparently Levy envisioned a big-budget version of the story, while the studio was more keen on taking a smaller approach to the classic tale. Indeed, Levy told Steve this past February that his iteration of Frankenstein wasn’t going to be made on a tiny budget:
“That script is ready to rock, I am ready to rock on that script, but as was reported it’s not a small budget. My Frankenstein, it ain’t gonna get done well and the way I would insist on doing it for $35 million. So anytime you’re in like $70-$80 million for a movie, you’re really thinking about ‘Well who are these two guys?’ in our case it’s Igor and Victor Frankenstein, ‘What’s the juicy pairing that makes that a good bet? That makes that financial bet smart and worth it?’ because I am in the business of not squandering the money the studios give me to make movies… It was more like ‘Okay if that’s the budget, we’ve gotta make sure we cast it really, really right’ and so that’s the moment we’re in.”
Apparently Fox’s version of the story is a “revisionist, sci-fi take” on Shelley’s novel that centers on themes of friendship and redemption, but no other details are known at this time. With so many Frankenstein projects percolating at different studios, it’s understandable that Fox wants to play this close to the vest. The report doesn’t specify whether McGuigan would want a complete rewrite of the script, but hopefully Landis can stay onboard and see this one through. His script for Chronicle was great and I’m interested to see his version of a “monster movie.”
Though McGuigan’s last feature, the telekinesis thriller Push, wasn’t exactly a home run, he’s expertly helmed four episodes of the fantastic BBC series Sherlock, including season two’s “A Scandal in Belgravia” and “The Hounds of Baskerville.” Hopefully he has a fresh, character-centric take on the Frankenstein story to bring to the screen.