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CBR TV: Beattie, Grevioux & Strahovski Build a Better Monster in ‘I, Frankenstein’

Filmmakers and cast from the upcoming “I, Frankenstein” feature film visited with CBR TV’s Jonah Weiland aboard the world famous CBR Yacht at Comic-Con International 2013 in San Diego. Director and co-writer Stuart Beattie, creator and co-writer Kevin Grevioux and star Yvonne Strahovski all sat down to talk about working on the upcoming film, its birth as a comic book written by Grevioux, what about the story drew the director back to horror and what Strahovski saw in the role of Terra. They then discuss the man within the monster that is Adam (Aaron Eckhart), why Frankenstein is ripe for a jump back to the big screen and whether or not there are plans for a sequel.

Grevioux on the origins of the “I, Frankenstein” comic book: “Really I created the comic book after I wrote the screenplay, and that’s what I sold to Lakeshore. My whole thing was really trying to come up with another monster that I could bring to the screen in a modern way, kind of like I did with ‘Underworld,'” said Grevioux. “I wanted something that reflected what the monster truly wanted to be, which was human. What happened to him after the end of the Mary Shelley book as we follow him throughout time living his life, getting involved in mankind, trying to figure out what his place in the world was.”

On what about the “I, Frankenstein” story drew Beattie back to horror: “It’s not really horror, it’s more action,” said Beattie. “In an action film, always the first thing to suffer is character. And I figured, if they try to mess with the character in this, they can no longer call it ‘I, Frankenstein.’ I felt kind of secure in knowing that I’d have a deep, rich, complex character to work from… You’ve gotta have a human story, no matter how big the film is. One of the things that I’m proudest about with ‘I, Frankenstein’ is it’s a very strong, human story. It’s a story of a guy finding his soul, finding his purpose, finding his reason for being — and giving up everything he wants for the higher good.

On the character of Aaron being both a true monster and a relatable protagonist: “We see this character journey through a world where he is his own sort of creature, because we create this world where we have demons and gargoyles and humans, and he is none of those things,” said Strahovski. We see him desperately trying to fit in with this facade that he has. … We sort of see him learn about himself. And as the only human in the movie, our characters sort of connect.”

“Yvonne’s character sort of comes into contact with him and kind of represents humanity in general and she begins by calling him ‘it’ and ‘this thing’ and by the end realizes that it’s a person, it’s a guy — there is a human being under there,” Beattie said.

On why now is the right time to bring Frankenstein back to theaters: “I think because it hasn’t been done in so long. The last big Frankenstein movie was the Kenneth Branagh one in the mid-’90s. This is really a fresh take on the whole Frankenstein mythology,” Beattie explained. “The idea is to pick up where Mary Shelley’s book ended and then tell what happened next. So it starts in 1795 and then spans the next 200 years in the present day. We really get a sense of who he is and what he is and how he is and how he’s struggling to find himself all these years later.”

“You kind of figure out the zeitgeist of the creative community. You know, what’s gonna be the big thing?” Grevioux added. “The way I wanted to do it was a way that had not been done before, like Stuart said, in an action setting. Where you have him as a hero with some emotional gravitas that is more than just this dumb, lumbering beast, but actually quite intelligent. And if you look at the Mary Shelley ‘Frankenstein,’ the creature had a prodigious intellect.”