One of the many forgotten Hollywood projects that could have turned out spectacular was Frank Darabont’s version of Frankenstein. However, the studio assigned Shakespearean lover Kenneth Branagh who despite his energetic and charismatic performance on screen, his work behind the camera made the 1994 adaptation the most over-the-top and dramatic version of the classic tale cinema has ever seen.
The movie had a great cast too. Robert De Niro as Frankenstein (which actually was a mis-casting I always felt), Ian Holm, Helena Bonham Carter and even John Cleese was in it, but the movie is just a frantic film of nonsense.
Darabont once said of the movie…
“…my worst experience. Actually, the script was great, the movie was a mess. You can’t really judge the script based on what you saw on the screen. It got rephrased and messed with every inch of the way.”
Fast forward 13 years, and a popular Spanish director has created his own monster movie series with Hellboy and plans to even add the classic Universal monsters such as Frankenstein into a possible third film.
The project he “would kill to make” is a faithful “Miltonian tragedy” version of FRANKENSTEIN that doesn’t suck wild ass like Branagh’s. He mentioned reading Frank Darabont’s draft and saying it was pretty much perfect.
Could there be a movement for del Toro to shoot and tweak Darabont’s draft?
Type Frankenstein into IMDB and you get over 100 search returns, so it’s hardly a tale that we haven’t seen before. I think del Toro would make a great and wacky version if the opportunity ever arose but personally, I would rather see him stick to original projects or developing other books that haven’t already been translated to the big screen.
Stuff like his next film At the Mountains of Madness and projects like 1906.
The definitive version of Frankenstein has always been the two movies that James Whale put together in the 1930′s with the great Boris Karloff. It’s his great performance that is the Frankenstein of popular culture and not so much the words of Mary Shelley and her great novel.
Still, if it had del Toro’s name on it, I would be interested. The director also gave away further details on other projects he is working on…
Universal have not yet picked up At the Mountains of Madness, but del Toro is self-financing the Marquette’s and character designs anyway with the hope that the studio will put the money towards what he calls “expensive, R-rated and doesn’t have a happy ending.” The movie del Toro likens to Aliens, The Shining and The Exorcist, in that it would be a big tentpole horror movie.
The del Toro produced adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s Death: The High Cost of Living will not star his Hellboy star Selma Blair despite the actress claiming a while back she wanted the part. del Toro apparently has someone else in mind.
The movie Born, that was reported to star real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly in a film about models that turn into killers, has been scrapped.
del Toro said he wouldn’t be working on The Wind in the Willows or The Creature From the Black Lagoon (this one is said to begin filming in February, but I don’t believe they have a cast/crew yet).
No details on… 3993 (his Spanish civil war ghost movie) or Tarzan (which he picked up the rights to last year). And then lest not forget there will be a Hellboy 3 most likely somewhere down the road.
This article was first posted on October 27, 2007