Guillermo del Toro’s Frankenstein. The idea alone gives you chills. It’s been the director’s dream project for as long as he’s been asked the question, and the subject came up again at this weekend’s virtual San Diego Comic-Con. Del Toro explained a bit more about how he’d adapt the Mary Shelley book for the big screen... if there were no restrictions, that is.
“I’ve always [imagined it] as a two to three-part story, because in order to encompass the book you have to change points of view and it’s a complex exercise,” del Toro said. The quote echoes a sentiment from way back in 2008 when del Toro was thinking of adapting both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein together into a mini-series.
Unfortunately, that never happened. And if you’re wondering why, long before this weekend’s interview with Collider, del Toro admitted that while the project is a dream of his, it’s most likely going to stay that way.
“Frankenstein to me is the pinnacle of everything, and part of me wants to do a version of it, part of me has for more than 25 years chickened out of making it,” del Toro said to Den of Geek in 2016. “I dream I can make the greatest Frankenstein ever, but then if you make it, you’ve made it. Whether it’s great or not, it’s done. You cannot dream about it anymore. That’s the tragedy of a filmmaker. You can dream of something but once you’ve made it, you’ve made it. That’s it. You landed a 10 or you landed a 6.5 but you were at the Olympics already, and you were judged.”
In 2014, del Toro even said executives at Universal had asked him to make the movie.
“I mean, look, I would love to do Frankenstein and Bride, or Frankenstein for sure, but it really, Frankenstein has been—I’ve been really, really, afraid,” del Toro said to Collider in 2014. “Donna [Langley, Universal executive] has approached me a few times to start it now and I’m always like, you know, it’s like the dream project so I’m a little, I’m a chicken shit, you know? When I do it, I need to do it. Like, if I do Frankenstein, I literally would stop everything, and I’m going to a sabbatical of three years, just to write that. It’s not something that’s gonna just flow, like second nature. It’s my favorite book in history. [Laughs.]”
So while a Frankenstein trilogy by del Toro sounds like the most incredible thing ever, it certainly seems more like something that’ll never happen. Unless, of course, those new Oscars he won in 2018 gave him a bit more confidence.
You can watch the full Comic-Con panel above but if you’d like to hear the director talk about Frankenstein, that quote comes at around 7:35.
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