Screen Rant: I was surprised about how this is in some ways a more interesting exploration of the monster than we’ve seen before. I was really interested in Frankenstein… So I wanted to ask: going forward, if you have another chance, what are some other monster twists you’ve been dreaming up? Because I figure you must be dreaming up some…
Stuart Beattie: Oh yeah well there’s a whole…there are so many demonic monsters and I really want to get into monsters. There are some big f*cking gigantic monsters. That’s why I deliberately had Leonore (Miranda Otto) say in the beginning, “the six hundred and sixty-six legion creatures” – I never said demons, I said creatures, it could be anything.
We were a 36 million-dollar budget, we had nine weeks to shoot the film; we just didn’t have the time or the money to make gigantic creatures and really go “Lord of The Rings.” In a way we were a very small film for this kind of scope and this kind of ambition. So the most we could do was get cool prosthetics on these guys, but there’s a whole hierarchy the more you think up as you develop [them] – the whole hierarchy of demons from the warriors to the dukes to the lords to the princes. The higher up in the ranks you go, the more horns you get; the more you change into a demon-looking thing. So the demon prince has the biggest horn so below him there are Zuriel (Socratis Otto) and Dekar (Kevin Grevioux) with smaller horns, but they are are still pretty big. He has a rank below that, and a rank before that, you know that kind of stuff.
So again, that’s about all we could get into in this film with the time we had and the money we had. So I would love to get into all that kind of stuff and get into ‘where’s the gargoyle king?’ There’s a gargoyle king…there’s a whole back story where he advocated the throne, all this kind of stuff that I would love to get into. Like I said, I think the trick, to get back to your original question, the real trick in building worlds is to have enough in there where it feels complete, but still can be expanded into so much more. I remember when I saw ‘Star Wars’ I thought that was great, they won, but then there was another movie and then it was like no that was just this small f*cking thing; the Death Star was just a little part of it, there’s a whole other empire that they have to fight. So it’s like, ‘oh cool, so it’s bigger than I thought,’ I think that was that genius of that world that George Lucas created there, it felt so real and it felt so complete but it actually was a tiny tip of the iceberg and I think that’s the secret to good world-building and that’s what I’ve tried to do with ‘I, Frankenstein.’
Screen Rant: How did the Shelly mythology help you get a foundation for that world – a character-based foundation?
…What’s great about the story and why it’s endured for so long is because that’s always going to be a relevant feeling, “I’m alone in the world, there’s no one out there for me, and I’m pissed off about it, and I’m a monster and I’m going to act like a monster”; and then realizing you’re only a monster if you behave like one. There is someone out there for you, it will come. Maybe in the most unexpected ways, but it’s a choice and that kind of stuff we’re always struggling with.
You see people acting like monsters and it’s always that choice, don’t be such an asshole, choose to be nice, choose to do something for others. Choose to serve a purpose higher than yourself. It’s a choice and there are a lot of people that make that choice all those fire-fighters all those soldiers – people who serve that higher purpose, that’s what they’re doing. They’re choosing to act like that and it’s a noble thing.
[WARNING – MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW!]
Screen Rant: Last but not least: You’re a Star Wars kid so you know that nowadays you always have to deliver that Empire Strikes Back sequel; for Frankenstein, considering where we leave him in this first arc, where would this character go in the next chapter?
Stuart Beattie: and that’s exactly it, it would be great to do one, but I would only do it if I had that complexity. And what I have been thinking about in the last year or so is when you take up a mantel like he does in the end of the film, you say, “Okay, I’m going to give up what I want and I’m going to go and protect mankind – even though mankind is being sh*t to me – that’s my mantel.”
To me the interesting thing there is: I don’t think that’s a choice that you’ve made it and you’re done. I think it’s a choice that on Monday you’ve made it and you feel good about it; on Tuesday you feel ok about it; Wednesday you start to doubt it; Thursday you’re like why the f*ck did I do that for? And Friday, you’re really flirting with the other side. I think it’d be kind of interesting to have him struggle with that choice that he’s made and really ask the question, “Is mankind worth this? Are they worth my sacrifice? Are they worth me giving up what I want?”
…I would love to have a police like character after him just because he looks like a monster and he’s always around this trouble. This policeman would be a Javier-type character who has this prejudice and [Frankenstein is] like, “why the f*ck am I doing this for if you people don’t appreciate it? If you people don’t care let them take over mankind, let them kill you all, see if I fucking care!” and let him go into that really dark place. “Maybe I’ll even join them, join their side,” and really take him into that dark area and make him figure out why he’s doing it and why he made that choice. What it was that made him do that – I think there’s a lot of good stuff in there, should we be so lucky.
We have more great stuff from our talk with Beattie and the cast of I, Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart and Yvonne Strahovski). For more of that, be sure to stay tuned to our I, Frankenstein coverage all week.
I, Frankenstein will be in theaters on Jaunary 24, 2014.
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