Screenwriter Max Landis Talks His Daniel Radcliffe-fronted Take on FRANKENSTEIN; Describes It As “Fun, Sad, Scary, and Moving”

     March 1, 2013


Hollywood re-imaginings of classic stories are nothing new; in fact, one is hitting theaters this weekendMary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein has been adapted into just about every form you could think of, with the story being twisted and turned into a multitude of genres, expressing a number of different themes.  A couple of new takes on the classic story are in development at the moment, but the one that appears to be moving forward first belongs to 20th Century Fox.

Paul McGuigan (Sherlock, Lucky Number Slevin) is onboard to direct and just yesterday we learned that Daniel Radcliffe is in final negotiations to star in the lead role of Igor.  The pic boasts a script from Chronicle scribe Max Landis, and the screenwriter recently spoke at length about his take on the tale, revealing that he hopes to stay true to a version of the Frankenstein story that, in his mind, only exists in the zeitgeist.  Hit the jump to read on.

max-landis-frankensteinSpeaking with the folks at AICN, Landis provided a lengthy statement that lays out the development and vague plot details of Frankenstein:

“I am, at the end of the day, a guy who loves story. So I came up with this idea for a story that I thought was touching, and exciting, and then as I was coming up with it I realized ‘Oh, shit, this is Frankenstein.’

And it’s not some ‘dark and gritty retelling/bad ass action reimagining,’ that’s not what I do, that’s not what I’m interested in writing. Sure, a lot of my stuff is dark, and this does have dark bits and bad ass action, but it’s ultimately about characters.”

As you may have surmised by the fact that Radcliffe will be playing Igor in the film, the story is told from the perspective of Dr. Frankenstein’s faithful assistant.  However, in researching his iteration of the story, Landis discovered that his idea of Igor as a character really has no solid basis in any previousFrankenstein incarnation.  The character doesn’t appear in Shelley’s novel and he’s not in the Universal Karloff movies, and so Landis went searching for Igor’s inception:

“I realized we were missing Igor, the Igor everyone seemed to know, and I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ So I started watching ALL of the Frankenstein movies, from Mel Brooks to Peter Cushing to Robert De Niro, and realized that the only time Igor’s actually been (Doctor?) Victor (Henry?) Frankenstein’s assistant was in the fucking Monster Mash.”

frankenstein-igorLandis continued on, saying Igor’s absence is where his inspiration for this new project came about:

“That’s when the idea came to me: instead of trying to do some high minded ‘revisionist’ Frankenstein, why not try to stay true to a version that only lives in the zeitgeist, and has NEVER REALLY EXISTED.

And why not do it in an intelligent, hopefully, thoughtful way, about friendship and science, genius and madness, love and ambition, life and death?

Why not use that imaginary, fairy dust framework of ‘guy with hunchbacked assistant makes monster’ and make it fun, sad, scary and hopefully, I really hope this, moving.”

You can read Landis’ full, entertaining statement over at AICN where he goes into more detail about his research on the character, but it’s certainly clear that the guy is passionate about this script.  I’ll be interested to see what McGuigan adds to the project, but nabbing Radcliffe as the star is certainly a big step in the right direction.  Production on Frankenstein is set to begin this fall.


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