I'm never one to be precious about remakes or adaptations, and if I find out that a new version on an old story is striking out in a bold direction, I'm only encouraged. It's exciting for me, then, to see that Max Landis' new Frankenstein screenplay seems to be charting new territory for the big fella, the patchwork man of pathos.
They don't even make mention of it themselves, but Shock Till You Drop's list of character breakdowns for the project plant it squarly in a circus milieu. Check them out for yourself:
HUNCHBACK (Male, 20): Dirty and pathologically so. He wears old clown clothes, faded. His slouched posture and long hair is offset by his intelligent eyes.
LORELEI (Female, 22): Young and beautiful, arcs through the air, her fingers catching the bar, swinging down, arcing out.
VICTOR (Male, 24): Good looking in a strange way, clean cut and tidy.
BARNABY ELLIOT (Male, 42-48): Unpleasant and red-faced in his ringmaster's uniform.
NATHANIEL (Male, 22-28): A huge circus strongman.
TURPIN (Male, 40): Respectable and distinguished but with a strange harried manner.
ALISTAIR (Male, 36): An immaculately kept mustache, slightly strong figure.
IGOR (Male, 42-45): Well dressed, looking spectacular. A doctor.
RAFFERTY (Male, 22-28): A dwarf, a person so ratlike the term human seems generous.
A ratlike dwarf, somebody called Igor, and a hunchback? A whole circus of freaks. I'm falling in love…
…and now I'm remembering that circuses feature clowns. Now I'm shaking in my seat and wondering why I thought I'd work with the light off. Now I'm denying that I just peed myself.
What's not clear, yet, is if Landis' script will be a complete reinvention of Shelley's story, some kind of sequel or, somehow, a prequel. There's no explicit mention of the monster, either – though I suppose he could be comprised of any or all of these characters.
It's early days for this project yet, but I'll be keeping an eye on it – one so beady, let's say, that the term ratlike seems generous.
UPDATE: Landis has some comments on the character breakdown.
I'm sure he means the original breakdown from Shock and not my comments, right? Right?
SECOND UPDATE: Yep, he meant the original breakdown.
Anybody care to guess what's right and what's wrong?