Audiences have a voracious appetite for monster fantasy flicks as the plethora of zombie, vampire, and fairy tale movies of late demonstrates. The fanged fiends, fair princesses, and flesh eaters have company now in the form of Frankenstein, who seems to be the latest hot commodity in Hollywood. A Guillermo del Toro/Universal remake of the classic 1931 film, an adaptation of a Peter Ackroyd novel that will be Sam Raimi-produced, and a Columbia Pictures contemporary retelling are just a few of the projects currently in the works that tackle the creature from the famed 19th century novel by Mary Shelley. Monster maven Matt Reeves – who has experience with the vamps of Let Me In and the oversized killers in Cloverfield – can add his name to the list of directors who will be developing a different spin on the Frankentale.
Deadline announced that Reeves will be teaming up with Mean Creek's Jacob Estes for Summit to make This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein – an adaptation of the Kenneth Oppel novel that puts a spin on the scientist who gives life to his abominable creation. The Oppel novel tells the story of Victor's twin Konrad, who falls deathly ill, which forces Victor to seek an alchemist that can give him the Elixir of Life to save his brother. Frankenstein (Victor, not the creature – although if you've read the novel it's entirely debatable who's the true savage … ) is accompanied by his best friend Elizabeth – who is apparently in love with Konrad – for the journey. Betrayals and a love triangle complicate matters.
With Reeves attached to a remake of Ray Nelson's 1963 alien story Eight O'Clock in the Morning – which John Carpenter previously adapted into They Live – and Justin Cronin's vampire novel, The Passage, about a scientific study gone wrong, there's no telling when this one will actually go to production.
While Frankenstein isn't an outright romantic love story, it is a tragic, emotional tale about the monster's search for love, acceptance, and companionship – which stems from his creator's inability to accept the repercussions of his actions and embrace his creation. How Reeves will play this angle parallel with the brothers' relationship (similar to Shelley's triangle between Victor, his cousin-turned-wife Elizabeth, and the monster) – and add what sounds like a Harry Potter-esque adventure yarn – remains to be seen, but it sounds like the film might be focusing on more of the humanity of the story rather than simply portraying a lumbering, groaning behemoth.
Knowing this about these various projects, what do you think it'll take from these movies to make the Frankenstein character successful with today's audiences?