There has been a long wait for the release of the fantasy-horror movie I, Frankenstein, which was originally set for release in February 2013, but was then pushed back to September 2013 - and then pushed back again to January 2014.
The film is based on Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel of the same name, in which the immortal creature that was pieced together by Victor Frankenstein has taken on his maker’s name and is working as a modern private investigator called Franklin Stein. The story takes place in the prophetically-named city of Darkhaven, which is populated by a secret ecosystem of ghouls and monsters that prey on the largely unsuspecting human population.
In an interview with IGN, Aaron Eckhart divulged a few details about the film, in particular about his own character and how close he is to the creature in Mary Shelley’s novel. The actor says that the film is only “loosely, loosely based” on the original story, but that the important thematic elements are still there.
It’s a movie about good and evil, about gargoyles and demons, and it’s about a monster trying to find his soul; his place in this world. And he happens to be an expert at the Filipino art of Kali stick fighting at the same time. Which [for those who are unfamiliar] is done with two and a half foot ratan sticks, or any stick you pick up off the street, and it’s being able to dispatch soulless people with these sticks.
The character may have had almost two centuries in which to perfect the art of Kali stick fighting, but Eckhart picked up the required skills by training intensively every day for six months, in order to perform his own fight choreography and stunts for I, Frankenstein. He claims that the end result of the gothic literature, combined with Filipino martial arts from the producers of Underworld, is, “a movie that you can not prepare for conceptually.”
Turning the irrepressibly photogenic Eckhart into a creature so hideous that people flee from him upon catching sight of his face is something of a challenge, but early set photos suggested that Frankenstein’s creation won’t be nearly as disfigured as he’s described in Shelley’s novel or drawn in Grevioux’s comics. Eckhart confirms that his version of the character is “sans bolts,” but that he won’t necessarily be a pretty picture:
There’s scarring on the face and the body and there’s an old and new look because some of it does take place in old times and some of it’s in contemporary times so you get that flavor … It’s a guy who’s sort of cursed. Because the monster Frankenstein, when he was born his father called him an abortion, an abberation. He’s got no love in his life, he’s unworthy, children run and scream at the sight of him. So what worse punishment than to roam the earth for eternity with this sort of sickness, and not finding love ,and not finding your soul?
To accompany the interview, IGN also unveiled a new 3D motion poster for I, Frankenstein. Unfortunately, it’s one of those posters that might have been better without motion: at best it creates the subtle impression of looking at an ordinary poster after imbibing unsafe quantities of alcohol. It also looks like Frankenstein and the background monsters are at a very slow dance party.
Here’s the motion poster, along with a non-motion version in case you prefer it that way.
I, Frankenstein‘s premise sounds a little dubious, and like the Underworld movies, it may end up being a film that divides audiences. However, Eckhart is a strong lead and the film also stars Bill Nighy - who has previously been the face of villainy in Pirates of the Caribbean and Underworld - as Frankenstein’s demon prince adversary.
One thing that’s bound to be confusing, particularly for pedants who get annoyed by the conflation of Victor Frankenstein with his creature, is the name of the protagonist. Despite the title of the film and the character being called Frank Stein in the comics, the official synopsis and cast listing has Eckhart playing a character called Adam. Perhaps I, Adam wouldn’t have had quite the same pull at the box office.
Are you looking forward to seeing an all-action Frankenstein’s monster who dispatches soulless people with sticks? Sound off on these latest details in the comments.
Barring any more changes, I, Frankenstein will be released on January 24th, 2014.