‘I, Frankenstein’ Director Talks Proper Approach to Marvel Movie Storytelling

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 24th, 2014 at 2:36 pm,

Frankenstein vs. Hulk I, Frankenstein Director Talks Proper Approach to Marvel Movie Storytelling

Writer/director Stuart Beattie is currently trying to get his debut blockbuster directorial effort I, Frankenstein, off the ground – and if his track record is any indication, he’ll do just that. Beattie has been the mind and pen that helped launch some pretty lucrative geek-appeal movie franchises, including Pirates of the CaribbeanG.I. Joe and (to lesser extent) 30 Days of Night.

One could fairly say that Beattie is a man for these times: Nowadays, it seems that every movie and/or TV studio is following the footsteps of Marvel Studios and building franchise universes that extended laterally into spin-offs and/or “connecting” films as much as they do linearly into sequels or prequels. In that sense, someone like Stuart Beattie – whose imagination for world-building has been proven by box office receipts – is a good person to tap for advice on what makes a good genre universe work. And, we did just that while at the I, Frankenstein junket in New York.

Screen Rant: The great thing about you is that you are obliviously a fan of this stuff; not just the behind the scenes, you love these properties as a fan. That said, what do you think right now when you see this era where universe-building has become THE thing? We were talking briefly about Star Wars and now there are more chapters to that saga, plus spin offs – not to mention the Marvel and DC movie universes. As a fan, how do you feel about this whole movement right now?

Stuart Beattie: As long as the stories are good and interesting and you’re not just cashing in sure, great I’ll go see it. As long as you got a good story to tell, tell me a good story. I’m starting to feel Marvel is just…I don’t know, the stories just aren’t as interesting to me anymore as they were. The first Iron Man I thought was a fantastic story; but what has Tony really gotten into since then? I don’t know…

Captain America First Avengers Times Square Ending I, Frankenstein Director Talks Proper Approach to Marvel Movie Storytelling

Screen Rant: My two favorites are Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Stuart Beattie: Yeah! Captain America! Look at that fantastic story…

Screen Rant: Like in the end [of First Avenger] I like that the whole thing hinges on this guy who really wants to go on a date with this one girl.

Stuart Beattie: That’s it! That’s what it comes down to! And can you find that good of a story in the second one? Then c’mon in your third one? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve seen it yet I’m hoping, I always hope the movies are great I always do, I love movies and I always hope for the best of a movie.

Screen Rant: They should consult you, a proven world-builder!

Stuart Beattie: Ha-ha! Well you know…I’ve talked with Marvel, I would love to do a Marvel film. If I were to do a Marvel film – especially if it were a sequel – I would really, really dig into what’s the story? Why tell it? You always have to have a “why tell this story?” I’ve turned down so many jobs because I cannot figure out a why – why bother telling it?… Why now? Why is it important to tell it now?

I Frankenstein Director Interview Marvel Movies Stuart Beattie I, Frankenstein Director Talks Proper Approach to Marvel Movie Storytelling

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 January 24, 2014.

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  1. I agree with the whole Marvel thing but coming from this guy? I Frankenstein, Looks terrible.

    • Here here! I, Frankenstein looks like a complete and utter train wreck. Him saying Marvel is going off the rails is just some sad attempt and generating buzz for a film that looks like the horror action equivalent of The Lone Ranger…

      • Except I agree with him 100%

    • Yes, I Frankenstein looks like utter garbage, and the special effects are of the lowest quality I have seen since The Mummy Returns

    • I certainly didn’t expect such spot on insight coming from the guy behind I Frankenstein. Can’t say it makes me want to watch his movie, but bravo for having the gal to say it like it is since he likely just burned some bridges.

  2. “…My two favorites are Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger”

    Really? The First Avenger? Which editor said that?
    Cap.1 and Iron Man 3 are the black sheep of the MCU.

    • Um, which fanboy said THAT?

      • Exactly. Stop proclaiming that your opinions are the majority opinion.

        • Uhhh, Kofi never said his opinion is the majority – he simply stated that those were his two favorites. Why are you so hostile?

      • Me and well, I surf the web and the internet speaks for itself… so yeah…black sheep.
        But hey! its fine that you enjoyed Cap 1.

        • Stop reading internet forums and read ticket sales. Ironman 3 took over a billion dollars.

          That should say more than reading a handful of negative post.

          • The man is smart, but the mass is stupid.

    • I would say that about IM2 (being the black sheep). IM3 was much better; if you wanted to see an entertaining film that is. And that’s why I go to the movies, to be entertained.

    • Let’s be honest…

      Iron man 3, Captain America and Thor 2 are ALL very bad movies…

      • Let’s be honest …

        Speak for yourself and not for anyone or everyone else.

      • Thor 2 is actually the best movie of phase 2 so far imho, only two movies so far but yea…and its better than the first thor and Hulk to me, and Iron Man 2.

      • Let’s be honest…

        We are all different and different stories resonate with different people so stop generalizing and being pretentious.

  3. “Why tell this story?” Same thing I asked myself when I saw previews for “I, Frankenstein”.

    • Totally agree with Stuart. The guy has made millions launching Pirates of the Caribbean, GI Joe, and 30 Days. Most of us Marvel fanboys would agree that the Phase 2 movies plot-wise and character development wise have been lackluster. IM1, Incredible Hulk, and Capt 1 have the best stories, villains, and characters. Im going to see I Frankenstein because I love the Underworld movies and the same guy wrote I Frankenstein. Stop Hating guys. These are just movies.

    • ROFL!!!

  4. Iron Man 3 was disappointing and was utter BS with the marketing. Thor the Dark World was just fan service with no plot, while having a terrible villain. With all that said I think Marvel with their next properties can do that course correction with Cap 2 and Guardians really looking fresh and exciting.

    • would you rather have had im3 have the mandarin twist in the marketing? it was refreshing not to have a movie spoiled in the marketing for once. thor 2 advanced the plot of the mcu with the introduction of the aether and infinity gems.

  5. Coming from the director of I, Frankenstein, this means nothing to me.

    • When I look at his remarks on world building and the examples the author here uses to supposedly validate such “imagination for world building”, all I see is:

      Pirates of the Caribbean: Beatty has story credit only for only the first film. He had nothing to do with building anything else in that franchise. Writer’s Guild Screen Credits Manual states: The term “story” means all writing covered by the provisions of the Minimum Basic Agreement representing a contribution “distinct from screenplay and consisting of basic narrative, idea, theme or outline indicating character development and action” unless based upon source material of a story nature (which gets different credits per their rules).

      G.I. Joe: Beatty actually holds both story and screenplay credits for Rise of Cobra… but when just about everything is scrapped for the sequel except for four characters (one who’s background was completely thrown out) in what amounts to a quasi half-reboot, it doesn’t go toward validating any expertise on world building. Rather, it says the opposite: that most of your ideas were tossed in favor of something else.

      30 Days of Night: Sure, to a lesser extent. Lesser because it isn’t even his story. That world building honor goes to Steve Niles and (for visual aesthetic) Ben Templesmith. Beatty worked off of Niles’ original script because he had proposed the film when everyone initially turned him down the comics. Studios weren’t interested, IDW picked up the comic, the comics did well, and suddenly the studio was interested again. Beatty was brought in by Columbia Pictures because they strong-armed re-writes to Niles’ script, and the script was later re-written again by Brian Nelson.

  6. sounds like he’s looking for a job at Marvel

  7. I agree on Cap and IM1.
    But, like others here, I Frank doesn’t look like anything other than Frankenstein in Underworld (and UnderWorld doesn’t have a perfect record).

    Anybody care to give their 2 cents as to why IM3 was so successful (besides coming after Avengers) whereas Thor2 was not?
    Yes Thor pulled in a good paycheck but not nearly what IM3 did.
    Is it just the Downey/Paltrow chemistry, etc…?

    • I would say that the IM character resonated more with fans. Downey is basically the face of the MCU right now, and pulls off the character well. There’s just more interest in IM, since he kicked off the MCU with a great film. The first Thor film was alright, but not nearly as good as the first IM film. Thor is a good character, and Hemsworth does a great job, and Loki is also great, but I guess the story and characters just don’t resonate as much with fans. Thor was also kind of a side character in Avengers also.

      Anyway, that’s my two cents as to why.

    • So movies need to make billions to be considered successful?-_- Thor 2 was a box seccess

      • Nobody said it wasn’t successful at all. It just wasn’t SO successful like IM3 was. IM3 made basically twice as much on a similar budget.

    • IM3 was made for the masses and most of them have never read a comic.

    • A lot of audiences liked it, it was a good movie, and only “Mandarin famboys” didn’t like it (Actually, I think these Mandarin fanboys only began liking the Mandarin after Iron Man 3).

  8. Thor TDW was a missed opportunity. It started off with some crappy narration – who needs that? Thor should be able to fly without the hammer, but the hammer can make him fly faster! We should have seen a whole lot more aerial work from Thor. They should have included the Hulk in it, and when those portals opened up, Hulk somehow got lost in another realm, and we pick up Planet Hulk from there. The airforce planes went through the portal. Some should have gotten stuck on the other side. The villain fight scenes were weak – not enough action. TTDW just wasn’t dark. The professor was made to look too stupid. In Thor’s pics, the scientists should be sane, like Daniel in Stargate. I agree that the movie seemed to be more fan service, but then again, Marvel probably reigned in the director, Taylor, who wanted to tell a different story. Hope he gets to do what he wants in the next Terminator chapter.

  9. When I saw the trailer for I, Frankenstein I wanted to puke. What a complete CGI s*** fest!

    Jesus, do studios realize that all that flash yields ZERO substance?

  10. I, Frankenstein looks amazing. All you haters can hate but the show will still probably make decent success in the Box office like what he did with pirates. I for one can’t wait for I, Frankenstein.

    • I can’t wait for I, Frankenstein as well

    • Hi Stuart Beattie! Nice to see you on Screen Rant! Please never work on a GI Joe movie ever again. And, FYI, Frankenstein should actually be ugly.

  11. I want this movie to bomb so hard now because of his comments.

  12. Another paid writer (and director, this time) proving himself semi-illiterate by adding the word “of” to the sentence “And can you find that good a story in the second one?”. Bodes well.

  13. “As long as the stories are good and interesting and you’re not just cashing in…” -Coming from a guy who’s debuting a film that looks like a combination of ‘Underworld’ and ‘Van Hellsing’ both of which were produced to cash in on a watered down-vampire-genre-poser-generation. -That’s interesting.
    I guess we’ll see if Mr. Beattie holds up this Friday huh?

    Looking forward to reading the review of I,Frankenstein.

    Pirates of the Caribbean is the only project that stands out for me except he worked with Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot on those films and they both have Shrek, Aladdin, Treasure Island and Small Soldiers under their belts. Oh not to mention Gore Verbinski at the helm.

  14. This guys only good movie that he has written was Collateral and it the IMO Micheal Mann and the acting was what stood out not the screenplay.

  15. He talketh the talk.

  16. I think he need to built his ‘own’ cinematic universe first before having the right to comment, that somehow give him more… uhm, credential to say one.
    Still, that’s a good idea… and it’s kinda obvious Marvel is in a somewhat experimental mode with the first 2 Phase 2 movies.

  17. Stuart Beattie need to go talk to WB/DC, they seem to need the help.

  18. This is coming from the guy, who wrote this piece of dialogue, “I see darkness in his eyes.” Seriously!

  19. God,all this hate here for this Movie !
    Actually it looks awesome and Fantastic ! Really hope it turns out well !

  20. Unbreakable, anyone?

  21. This man has built nothing, so I don’t know where he has any world building imagination or how the author can seemingly validate Beatty’s opinion with the examples listed.

    First up: Beatty holds only story credit… and only on the first Pirates. The Writer’s Guild has strict rules on how to credit and who receives them. For story credit (and one reason I say Goyer gets more acclaim than he deserves): “all writing covered by the provisions of the Minimum Basic Agreement representing a contribution “–distinct from screenplay– and consisting of basic narrative, idea, theme or outline indicating character development and action.””

    For Rise of Cobra: Beatty holds both story and screenplay credits, but when much of your film is essentially tossed out by an immediate qasi half-reboot, it tells me your supposed world building expertise was essentially tossed out in favor of a completely different direction.

    30 Days of Night: To a lesser extent, alright. Lesser in that it wasn’t even his story or his world at all; that honor goes to Steve Niles, who’s original script (based from his comic series) was re-written by Beatty at the insistence of Columbia Pictures because they had their hands in the pie as distributor for North America. It just so happens that the screenplay was re-written once again by Brian Nelson during pre-production.

    Please tell me exactly where this world-building imagination and expertise is?

    • ANd General Chance gave private beatty no chance in frankenhell….

  22. You guys are such dc fanboys. Iron man 2 was the weakest of the bunch that marvel has made but it is still better than everything warner dc has put out with the exception of the nolan trilogy and maybe mos.

  23. When this guy has created an interconnected movie universe that sells tickets and wins over audiences like Marvel, then I might listen to him. Some people forget that no one has done what Marvel is doing before, there is no right way to do it yet. Marvel are playing trial and error. Iron Man? success, save that formula for later. Iron Man 2? Okay lets not do that again. Avengers? Alright, that worked, try something different for the sequel. I never fail to be amazed at the bitchiness of some of Marvel’s fans (and that being said, DC’s fans too. Yeah, I went there), whining about IM3 having ‘too much comedy’ or Thor 2 having a ‘stupid plot’. Whilst I agree with those complaints in some respects, some people need to just calm down and be thankful that we even have an Avengers movie to begin with. Hek, who would have thought Doctor Strange or The Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man would ever have any hope of hitting the big-screen? Marvel are taking risks in every movie, whether it be tone (Avengers 2), adherence to canon (Iron Man 3) or simply bringing characters to life that are just plain weird (Ant-Man). Marvel are doing the dirty work here, and for that they should be respected, not reviled.

    And as for the DC fans acting as though they anticipated a faithful adaptation of The Mandarin or expected something groundbreaking from Thor 2, lay it off already. No one is going to tear down The Dark Knight Trilogy in any hurry, so why irrationally hate on Marvel’s films? If anything, you too should be grateful for Marvel. They started testing the waters of cinematic universes long before DC ever did, and all DC have to really do is ride off the wave of superhero success that was The Avengers.

  24. “Why tell this story” coming from a guy who worked on GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, a movie literally designed to sell toys (and while a guilty pleasure, had an admittedly terrible story).

    I’m not an insecure comic fanboy looking defend all the CBMs, but to me that just does not make any sense in the slightest. Anything in the MCU easily wins over anything this guy has done with the exception of maybe Collateral. Please someone tell me why I should take what this guy says seriously

  25. I liked the first Ironman, Incredible Hulk for the most part even if I was left wondering what the hell ever happened to the big headed guy at the end of the film who created Abomination. Thor was good, Ironman 2 and 3 where alright but like he said, it just did not feel like he was doing anything new really. also I think Marvel is scared to show the negatives of having superpowers, for instance Captain America not ageing and waking up in the future. I would have had him get his dance with peggy as a elderly woman and bring a big impact of emotion into the film. details like that are glossed over in these films and replaced with non stop action. It gets boring even if it is non stop action. if I like drama, psychological, (etc) I am left out. I feel they like to kill someone off to get an emotional response when sometimes just putting someone through something really traumatic could work better, and make the film quality above the rest. Hope to get a Hulk solo film, and a Inhumans.

  26. I, Frankenstein looks bad. Plus, Kim Kold should have been cast as Frankenstein not some skinny white boy.

    • @Ke-mo sah-bee – I had to google that actor, but I agree (on appearance only). The makeup department wouldn’t had to do much.

  27. Personally, I think there is some validity in what Beatty said. The MCU has lacked true depth for awhile. Iron man I was the best film by far. It showed depth, character development, and the pay off was excellent. However, Thor 1 and 2,Iron man 2,and Captain America were sort of meh.Even Avengers was not without its major flaws. Just pure popcorn flicks, which is not a problem per se, but I would rather see a film that I will remember for a long time. As opposed to throwaway or easily forgotten films.

    I am pinning my hopes on Captain America: Winter Solider to really rekindle my interest in the MCU. Because IM3 and Thor TDW were major letdowns. Honestly, I am a DC guy(not hating), but I thoroughly enjoy watching movies from Marvel. Therefore, I hope phase two ends strong, meaning that CA:TWS and Avengers:AoU are good. Otherwise, the whole “shared unvierse” is really nothing more than a shallow, cash-in.

    Oh and if I, Frankenstein gets more than One star from Screen Rant and over 15% on rottentomatoes, I will be immensely surprised. That movie looks like the B****** love child of “Underworld” and “The Mummy”…ahh, I love the smell of awful movies in January hahahah