Who out there has always wanted to learn more about what exactly drove Victor Frankenstein to become the brilliant but maniacal scientist who sought to defy death in Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel? Kenneth Opel did at least, and he organized his thoughts on the matter into a book he dubbed This Dark Endeavor, which will be published this summer.
Summit Entertainment has won the movie rights to Opel’s work, which is fully titled This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein. The studio has brought onboard a specialist (or something like that) in the field of teens, romance, and the supernatural to produce the pic, in the form of Karen Rosenfelt (Twilight).
Deadline broke the news about Summit’s acquisition of This Dark Endeavor, an action-adventure tale that follows a young (presumably, adolescent) Victor Frankenstein as he and his best friend Elizabeth set out to produce the Elixir of Life, in the hopes of saving his sick twin brother, Konrad. Matters become difficult when a love triangle forms between the trio, in a tale that frequently makes reference to and sets up the main narrative of Shelley’s Frankenstein (a.k.a. The Modern Prometheus).
This Dark Endeavor marks the third in-development feature based off Shelley’s original text in some form, alongside Sony’s contemporary Frankenstein re-imagining and Guillermo del Toro’s long-gestating adaptation. While the novel Frankenstein itself is no stranger to the Hollywood scene, this is the first time a legitimate prequel to the iconic cautionary tale about science and mortality has been conceived. We’ve seen what effects V. Frankenstein’s legacy had on his descendants (sort of – see below for the punchline) – and now it shall be revealed what made him the twisted genius he was.
Opel’s novel looks to be the latest addition to the ever-growing young adult supernatural romance genre of literature. Unlike Stephenie Meyer’s re-envisioning of the vampire and werewolf mythos, Dark Endeavor aims to expand upon and flesh out the history behind the classic Frankenstein tale. In that sense it’s kind of similar to next month’s Red Riding Hood (from Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke – take that as you will), which adds teens, romance, and a Gothic touch to the famous fairy tale, so as to reveal “the truth” behind the legend.
While Dark Endeavor will lack the straightforward horror elements of Shelley’s original work, it sounds like more of a period action-adventure tale and less like just another story about broody teen romance and drama. That doesn’t guarantee that the book or its film adaptation will turn out to be interesting or even good, but it’s an encouraging thought for those who cringe at the prospect of Frankenstein being refashioned in some way for the Twihard crowd.
Does This Dark Endeavor sound like it has potential?