There will no doubt be mixed views about the THR news that Daniel Radcliffe is in final negotiations to play Igor, the famous hunchbacked assistant of Doctor Frankenstein. This is a tale that has gone through countless cinematic retreads and revamps since its inception by Mary Shelly all those years ago, and has even had successful theater runs, the most recent starring UK Sherlock star Bennedict Cumberbatch, and US Elementary star Jonny Lee Miller. But Igor himself was actually a cinematic creation and became immortalized in our minds because of great performances from the likes of Dwight Frye, Bela Lugosi and many more that all helped to create this hunchbacked helper.
Max Landis (Chronicle) is on writing duties, while Paul McGuigan (director of Lucky Number Slevin and Push) is at the helm to direct. Max’s own father John Landis (Blues Brothers, Thriller) is on hand in a producing role. So if nothing else this new version has some pretty good talent behind the camera. Max Brooks version of this tale is told from Igors perspective. Aint It Cool News has a great interview with Max about his plans. One of the more interesting things said was his plan to make the film a version we have never seen before.
[quote] “That’s when the idea came to me: instead of trying to do some high minded ‘revisionist’ Frankenstein, why not try to stay true to a version that only lives in the zeitgeist, and has NEVER REALLY EXISTED.
And why not do it in an intelligent, hopefully, thoughtful way, about friendship and science, genius and madness, love and ambition, life and death?
Why not use that imaginary, fairy dust framework of ‘guy with hunchbacked assistant makes monster’ and make it fun, sad, scary and hopefully, I really hope this, moving.” [/quote]
This seems like a really fun and maybe even more heartwarming version of the story than we have seen before. I doubt it will go as funny as Young Frankenstein, but this will certainly be an exciting version of the tale and this will make a change from the more downbeat versions we have seen in recent years.
[quote]He is described as pathologically dirty, with long hair and wearing old clown clothes. (A circus tone permeates much of the project, according to sources.)[/quote]
So quite a departure from the clean cut Mr Potter, but still a great piece of casting if it all goes through. Ratcliffe has also pushed the envelope in the past, most famously on stage in Equus where he performed a nude scene. It is not uncommon for actors to want to break type (Jim Carrey and Elijah Wood have done it countless times) and it normally harbors interesting results. It should be fun to see how Daniel gets to grips with a more horrific, tormented character and how he interprets the circus feel this new Igor is alluding to. When you read about Max’s thoughts on Frankenstein you cannot help but feel his energy for the project. To see if it lives up to his plans we will have to wait, but a more refreshing approach to the tale could be just what movie fans are looking for.