From cinematic young wizard Harry Potter to thespian stable boy to Broadway singer, young actor Daniel Radcliffe is still up and coming. Now his acting pursuits are taking a decidedly darker, and delightfully more thoughtful turn, as Radcliffe is in talks to join a 20th Century Fox production of Frankenstein – not as the monster or the doctor, but as the twisted manservant Igor. The obvious question is: Why would Radcliffe play second fiddle to the monster or the doc?
This retelling of Mary Shelley’s gothic tale, which is set to start filming next fall, casts Igor as the protagonist. Which is to say that the story is told from his point of view. (Not unlike Mary Reilly, the 1996 film that put a different spin on the story of Jekyll and Hyde through the point of view of Julia Roberts — I mean, Jekyll’s servant, Mary.)
Directing this incarnation of Frankenstein will be Paul McGuigan (who directed four episodes of Sherlock) and writing the script is Max Landis (Chronicle, World War Z). You know, in case you needed some assurance that this is probably going to be cool.
Said Landis about the subject matter at hand:
I began to pick apart our knowledge of Frankenstein and discovered that the public’s idea of this myth comes from a million different places…I became committed to recontextualizing it all so it all worked in one story. By the end of the day, yeah it’s a period piece, yes it’s from Igor’s perspective, but man it’s cool….it’s the best thing I’ve written.
I admit, I do wonder how much “picking apart” Landis is doing, but I’m personally hoping to God he still centers on the original material first. Shelley’s 19th century novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in fact doesn’t feature Igor at all, nor any sort of hunchback or lab assistant. Even the 1931 Frankenstein film starring Boris Karloff — who established our pop culture image for the monster — doesn’t include Igor. Instead it had Fritz, a dopey assistant-turned-grave robber.
It wasn’t until 1939′s Son of Frankenstein that an “Ygor” appeared (played by Bela Lugosi!), who was a deranged blacksmith with a neck and back broken from a botched hanging. But okay, if Landis is just mining the “million different places” the story has bubbled up, then Igor is fair game.
So will pretty boy Daniel Radcliffe be a crippled broken-necked blacksmith? Probably not, but I’m still interested in learning more about this gothic tale. Wait, will it even be gothic? They have said it would be a “period” piece, but it’s also been described as “a sci-fi take on the traditional Mary Shelley story, focusing on themes of friendship and redemption.”
Sci-fi? Well then, bring on the ray guns!
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