Despite being an Oscar-winning, blockbuster filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro has had quite a few passion projects fail to get off the ground, from his planned third Hellboy movie to an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. Another notable adaptation that del Toro dreamed of making was for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In an interview with Collider, actor Doug Jones, who was set to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the movie, described how his take on the iconic creature would have differed from previous versions.
“[M]y first thought is that I’m not the big, broad, big-boned lumbering Frankenstein that you have in mind. But it was told to me, Guillermo is a big fan of Bernie Wrightson, and a friend of Bernie Wrightson, and Bernie had illustrated a version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and all of the images of Frankenstein’s monster in that, that’s what he was going to pattern my look after. Which was more emaciated, little skinnier, little more pathetic looking. And yet, had an unnatural physical prowess, an unnatural athleticness to him. He was sewn together with spare parts of a couple different bodies. Very bony face, long, stringy, drawn hair.”
The original novel details the journey of Doctor Victor Frankenstein in his quest to create artificial intelligence by scavenging spare parts from human cadavers, assembling them into a shape vaguely reminiscent of a person, and carrying out arcane procedures on the resulting body to present it with the spark of life.
Unfortunately, the “monster” Frankenstein ends up creating is so horrific to look at that the doctor flees from its presence. According to Doug Jones, the makeup that would have been used to create his version of the Monster would have been “hauntingly beautiful”.
“I never went through a makeup test myself for it. But I did go to the creature shop, Spectral Motion, who was developing the look for him at the time…I was there for something else, and Mike Elizalde, the owner of the shop, said ‘I gotta show you something’. Then he unveiled a head and shoulders bust of me with this monster makeup built on it. It was like, honestly, my eyes welled it. It was so hauntingly beautiful, and it did pay reverence to Bernie Wrightson’s artwork and gave you a different-looking Frankenstein’s monster than what you’re used to.”
Considering the beautifully memorable imagery and aesthetics of del Toro’s previous works in horror-fantasy, it sounds likes his take on Frankenstein would have been truly a gift to fans of Shelley’s novel. Often in the past, Guillermo del Toro has cited the original Frankenstein novel as one of the seminal influences on his filmmaking career, and his desire to make a trilogy of films based on the book. Jones is more than willing to get on board such a project in the future, should del Toro come to him with the offer.
“My guess would be Guillermo probably wanted to make a standalone movie that was just his piece of art, that would be an homage to the book and an homage to the original film. I have not heard hide nor hair of that ever since. But if offered, I would kill to…anything Guillermo does, he knows I’ll say yes to whatever, and I’ll find out the story later. He’s the one director I trust with whatever he offers me.”
This news originated at Collider.