When Mary Shelley sat down to pen her paramount novel “Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus” in 1818, there was obviously no way she could anticipate that the themes of creation, obsession, and pure evil would continue to echo through the ages almost 200 years later. The impact is certainly most personified on film, with Universal Studios creating our modern vision of Frankenstein’s monster in the form of the Boris Karloff-starring film from 1931. It’s also had its share of C-Level interpretation, inspired films like Stuart Gordon’s splat masterpiece “Re-Animator,” and dazzling stage shows like the recent iteration by Academy Award-winning “127 Hours” filmmaker Danny Boyle. Hopefully the Shelley estate has been receiving some nice checks over the years. Anyways, there’s a few projects gestating about the creature, and now we can add another to the pile.
Deadline has word that Dean Koontz’s best-selling five-book revisionist take on the monster entitled “Frankenstein,” which is set in present-day New Orleans and follows Victor Helios (Frankenstein) and his creation over 200 years since they thought they killed each other in a battle in the Arctic at the end of Shelley’s tale, has been snapped up by Lionsgate Television and 1019 Entertainment and put in development at TNT. Father-son writing team of James V. Hart and Jake Hart will give it life. The senior Hart, James, has experience in this area, having written Francis Ford Coppola’s incredibly underrated 1992 film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” with a story credit on Kenneth Branagh’s less successful 1994 retelling of “Frankenstein” (of which Hart was also a producer) – so hopefully he can bring some of that to this writing gig. Koontz’s “Frankenstein” actually began its life on television with the 2004 USA “original movie” (it felt like a backdoor pilot), which was based on his concept and was executive produced by Martin Scorsese, directed by “Conan The Barbarian” remake helmer Marcus Nispel, and starred Parker Posey, Vincent Perez and Thomas Kretschmann – and let’s just say it wasn’t very befitting of the legacy of Shelley’s story.
Remember, this isn’t the only “Frankenstein” project in the works. There’s the Aaron Eckhart-starring comic adaptation “I, Frankenstein” awaiting its September 2013 release, and the Max Landis-penned tale nabbed “Lucky Number Slevin” director Paul McGuigan – which apparently has Daniel Radcliffe eyeing it to star. Also, Guillermo del Toro has been trying to line one up at Universal for ages now, but we’re not sure it’ll ever see the light of day considering his packed schedule. No word on when the Koontz adaptation will take off, so we’ll have to see what the Harts cook up.