With Victor Frankenstein out in theaters this week, Tamika was recently invited to take part in a press conference with Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy, who talked about the new take on Mary Shelley's classic novel:
James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe on the uniqueness and trait twists of Victor and Igor in this film:
James McAvoy: Victor's always been maniacally obsessional. Way back from Mary Shelley's original. We tried to investigate that in a real kind of post-Freudian world. Not just go, "He's a bit energetic and he's a bit obsessed." Then, halfway through the book, he goes home for a vacation for a year and comes back completely healthy and sane and goes, "Oh, what, the monster's alive? Thank goodness I'm really healthy now and I can go kill it."
Whereas we tried to stay in the kind of post-Freudian world and why is he so maniacal, why is he so hyper bipolar? It's not just because he's a mad scientist, find the reason for that and kind of run with it for the whole movie. Don't let him off the hook halfway through the movie so that when he has to go do the bad thing at the end, which is kill his own creation, that we're suddenly on [the] side of him because he's a good guy. Try to keep him discomforting. Try to keep him sort of a quixotic mercurial character all the way through.
Daniel Radcliffe: The thing I liked about the script so much is that it took so many pre-conceptions of Frankenstein and sort of ideas that people have about the story and things that people think they know and sort of twists with them and sort of played around with them and have real fun with that. Part of that was giving Igor backstory and giving him more depth than we've seen in terms of that character before. Finding out why he would have this incredible loyalty to Victor and why that, despite how badly he's treated a lot of the time, why that never wavers at all.
To have him be this sort of little creature living this abject horrible life at the beginning of the film. Then he's saved from that and brought into this world where [he's] empowered in terms of he's got a say, you know, a purpose, and for me that was very key into [how] you can suddenly understand his insane devotion to this man even when he's kind of being tested. It's fun.
McAvoy on the human-centric elements of Victor Frankenstein and screenwriter Max Landis' inspiration for writing the new adaptation:
James McAvoy: The book is sort of like a book of two halves. First half is about a scientist's obsession and the second half is much more sort of a Pinocchio story, like an existential sort of development of a monster going, "I want to be a real boy. Can I get Pinocchio's story?"
We still get that through Daniel's character. The film is about people. It's about human beings. It's about the people that actually exist. It's about scientists. [Screenwriter] Max [Landis] had said that the reason he was inspired to write this was about the advent of Facebook. Just like people at the forefront of technological capability using that to implement a massive change in the way that we live our lives. That's what he was inspired [by] to write Frankenstein, because it was about two guys with the keys to the kingdom or the fire of the gods in their hands. Doing stuff that could be terrible or it could change the world for the better, you never know. Here they're always vilified and then five years later we're doing stem cell research anyway. You know what I mean? That's what it's about. It's about those people rather than just the monster, but it's still the cool monster.
McAvoy on striving to make Victor Frankenstein an entertaining movie that takes risks:
James McAvoy: It's a combination of the entire zeitgeist-driven, collective consciousness perception that we have of what the word "Frankenstein" means. That's why there's an Igor in it, when there wasn't in the book. That's why other stuff happens. For me, it was about trying to marry up the entertainment value, because this has to be an entertainment. In the same way that Mary Shelley's book was, it has to be slightly sort of dicey at times and controversial.
It's hard to do that these days. People aren't as disturbed as easily. You know they're not. We're not disturbed by a movie that shows two guys trying to become God as much as when she wrote that book.
Radcliffe on the action adventure side of the story and what appealed to him the most about playing Igor:
Daniel Radcliffe: Just the thing I loved about the script when I read it was that it was this big, bold, unapologetic action adventure movie. That also had at the heart of it this great, really interesting relationship story between these two guys. There is quite a toxic relationship. In some ways they're both essential to each other. I get damaged by him at times. There was a sweetness to Igor and the character as it was written that I found really appealing, because there's no side to him, there's no edge. He's just, "What you see is what you get." There's a sort of honesty to how grateful he is to have been taken into this world that I found very, very appealing. Just trying to make that as real as possible as I could.
Radcliffe on working with the animatronic version of the creature Gordon:
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah, Gordon was great. We discovered on the press tour, actually not everybody thinks Gordon's cute. Because you spend so much time around [him], you get a little desensitized. You know when you hear about people who work with The Muppets, you don't talk to the animator you just talk to the Muppet after awhile. It was similar with Gordon for me. I would go off and do something to him and the guys operating him would see that I was doing something and so would like make him respond. At that point you totally forget that there are three guys in a box operating it. You start interacting with it. It was one of my favorite animatronic creature effects things I've ever seen.
In case you missed it, check out Tamika's review of Victor Frankenstein: