I’ve been reading a lot of posts recently about the pros and cons of the upcoming period drama/buddy movie/sci-fi/horror film “Victor Frankenstein” and let's be frank about the buzz; there is none. The general movie-going public seems to either have no idea this film exists or have no idea why Fox would want to retell the story of Frankenstein when it’s already been told so many times.
Thankfully, the recent panel at San Diego Comic Con was an incredibly good time with laughs a minute; James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe flirted and teased each other mercilessly and the trailer and the clip that were premiered was met with uproarious applause, cheers and good vibes. And let's all exhale a collective sigh of relief; the movie looks good. Really good.
However, what doesn't seem to help the lack of Victor Frankenstein buzz is Fox's nonexistent promotion for the film. The Twitter and Facebook page is as bare as can be. Fox has somehow managed to push back the release date of the film 3 times. We are officially 3 and a half months away from the movie's release and we still don't have a trailer.
Well, I’m here to set the record straight on why and how Victor Frankenstein should and most probably will succeed.
WHY IT WILL SUCCEED:
The script: First and foremost, Max Landis is one of the great, exciting, up and coming screenwriters in the business. Even that is being modest for a man who has written one of the most exciting superhero films in recent memory, especially when the movie industry is crawling with them.
I have read a draft of this screenplay, and although I’m unsure if the draft I read is the shooting script, it is fantastic. The characters are deep, three-dimensional, likable, complex, fun, dangerous, and exciting; everything you could ever want from characters in a film.
Imagine if Joss Whedon or Steven Moffat had the opportunity to write the character of Igor an origin story and you’re halfway to imagining how incredible Max Landis’ screenplay is. Because he’s a relatively new voice in Hollywood (although having written and sold numerous screenplays), his retelling of a classic story seems fresh and original, truly a brand new monster of its own. Like Whedon, Max subverts tropes and stereotypes and yet manages to poke fun at them every once in a while. A screenplay that takes itself too seriously and not at the same time. Think an Oscar drama wrapped up in a period sci-fi adventure film.
The screenplay offers richness and depth in every single act; twists and turns to keep even the most antsy person engaged and quite possibly every genre you could think of: drama, romance, comedy, suspense, thriller, horror, action, adventure, sci-fi, “buddy movie”…
Speaking of buddy movie, I have to move on to mention…
The central relationship between Igor and Victor is enough to keep audiences craving more when the final credits roll in.
Igor is a unique, fresh and new protagonist, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. He’s likable, sympathetic and a lost soul that we yearn to be found. Victor is daring, funny, awkward, dashing and determined. However intriguing that these characters are apart, it’s nothing compared to how memorable they are when they come together.
I adore “bromances” or “buddy movies” and think that this one will stand up there with the best of them. Two men and their love for each other, (no matter if you choose to think of them as just friends or if you ship them until your last breath) is extremely relevant in today’s movie-going audiences and Max has created a bromance that is one for the ages. Max Landis has managed to do the impossible and bring two amazingly complex characters on their own and make them even more explosive when they come together.
If you don’t fall in love with these two together, and apart, you don’t have a soul or you’ve never had a friend.
The Supporting Characters: Okay, okay, so you have amazing leading characters. So what? Well, if you’re a BBC Sherlock fan or a Moriarty fan (really an Andrew Scott fan), you’re in for a treat.
Rounding out the main cast is Roderick Turpin, portrayed by the IFTA, BIFA and BAFTA-award winning Andrew Scott. Roderick Turpin is one of the most interesting characters I think will ever be put on film. Without giving too much away, he has just as good of an arc as the two leading men (if not better) and will put Andrew Scott’s acting abilities to the test. Scotties, be excited. We’re all in for a heck of a performance.
Freddie Fox is perfectly cast as Finnegan, a snobby, arrogant rich kid who is also Victor’s classmate. Jessica Brown Findlay has a great role as Lorelei, a female character that although isn’t given top billing, will please men and women alike for being much more three-dimensional than women usually are in sci-fi period dramas. (Is that even a genre?) You get my point.
The cast: Okay, this really should go without saying, but I’m going to talk about this anyway.
Daniel Radcliffe is beloved the world over for his portrayal of Harry Potter. Duh. But what really got me to be over the moon about this casting is Dan Rad’s portrayal of Allen Ginsberg in the incredible film Kill Your Darlings. Daniel Radcliffe has the innate quality of being instantaneously likable upon first glance and he’ll definitely bring that to Igor. Igor has the most important job in this film; without liking him, the story is lost. If we don’t feel for him, or sympathize with him, we may as well ask for a refund. But Radcliffe will pull this off in spades. He has quite a few scenes to show off his acting chops, ranging from all extremes of emotions but Harry Potter and Kill Your Darlings fans know he can more than pull this off.
James McAvoy was born for the role of Victor Frankenstein. Dashing, funny, arrogant, awkward and sometimes dark, McAvoy will show every facet of his talent in this film. In order to accurately portray Victor, you not only need to be a leading man, you also have to have a dark quality to you and James possesses all of the necessary traits to portray a leading man with a hint of strangeness.
Andrew Scott will undoubtedly steal every scene he’s in. I’ve been closely following his career path and he’s made it a point to steer far away from studio films but there’s a reason he’s chosen this one. Turpin is one of the most complex roles Scott has played yet and if the set pictures are any indication, it will also be one of his best performances. One look at Freddie Fox and you’d think he came straight out of a posh private school in Victorian London. Jessica Brown Findlay has proved that she can play a leading lady but also break away from stereotype. Mark Gatiss is perfectly cast as Dettweiler, a strict, “all-business” man with grey morality.
The Production Team:
Okay, so you’ve got the script and the cast. As everyone knows, there’s so much more to a movie than that. You are absolutely correct. It’s a great thing this team is one for the books.
Paul McGuigan, whose television work is far more noticed than his film work, directed four of the best episodes of the BBC’s Sherlock. A photographer first and foremost, he truly changed the face of the show when he came up with the brilliant idea to show the audience a text message on the screen instead of filming a phone screen; a technique that the rest of the Sherlock episodes would heavily feature as well as several tv shows and movies after that. It’s evident in “A Study in Pink”, “The Great Game”, “A Scandal in Belgravia” and “Hounds of Baskerville” that not only does this director have a great eye for astounding visuals, he knows how to tell a narrative story no matter how convoluted or demanding and he knows how to direct actors.
Fabian Wagner, who has been nominated for an Emmy for his incredible work, is the cinematographer. He worked alongside Paul McGuigan in Sherlock and has also wowed audiences around the world with his work on Game of Thrones episode “Mockingbird”. He sounds like the perfect candidate to achieve epic, sweeping shots of Victorian London, the intimate and intense character motivated scenes between Igor and Victor and the difficult action shots that this script demands.
Craig Armstrong, a Golden Globe winning composer, is responsible for the memorable, haunting and iconic film scores such as Moulin Rouge, Ray, The Great Gatsby, Love Actually and most recently, Far From the Madding Crowd. If anyone can score this versatile of a film that hits almost every genre, this is the guy.
Andrew Hulme, a BAFTA nominated editor, has worked with Paul McGuigan before on Lucky Number Slevin. Besides directing, editing is arguably one of the most important aspects of a film, so we can be rest assured we’re in good hands with an editor that has worked with the director before. As long as they agree and are friendly with one another, we should be confident that he will make decisions that Paul will approve of.
Eve Stewart, a 3 time Academy Award nominee, is the genius production designer behind films such as Les Miserables, The King’s Speech, Topsy-Turvy, The Hour and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang to name a few. You can believe that this amazing woman will not disappoint in bringing Victorian England back to life but with a dark tone and dramatic flair.
Jany Tamime, a 3 time Costume Designers Guild Award winner, is responsible for costumes in Gravity, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Skyfall. Fans already love the incredible costumes that we’ve seen in recent set pictures and I for one can’t wait to see the rest of her astounding work.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, then I don’t know what to tell you. The incredible script, characters, cast and crew should get you excited for this monster of a film. That and the fact that Fox pushed the release date of the film from January of 2015 to November 25th, 2015, which is a huge weekend for the movies, should convince you that it was a vote of confidence more than them trying to push back a film due to delays. Get excited everyone. When this film comes out, you won’t know what hit you.