Although we censor and sanitize scary stories for younger readers, it may be surprising to some that one of the most iconic books of the horror genre was originally written by a teenage girl. That’s right, Mary Shelley was only 19 when Frankenstein was published and now she’s getting her own biopic.
Elle Fanning has been cast to play Shelley, and an image of her on the set has been floating around thanks to The Hollywood Reporter. The photo depicts Shelley at her mother’s grave writing the book that would make her a household name. There is no evidence to prove that she did that, but she was known to have secret rendezvous with her eventual husband Percy Bysshe Shelley at her mother’s grave, so the woman was clearly fond of graveyards.
Stephen Dillane will play Mary’s father (and famed political philosopher) William Godwin, while Maisie Williams is set to play Isabel Baxter, a friend who had to end her relationship with Mary after some turbulence. Bel Powley plays Claire Clairmont (Mary’s stepsister), Joanne Froggatt plays Mary Jane Clairmont (Mary’s stepmother), and Tom Sturridge plays Lord Byron (the Romantic poet and politician).
From the looks of things, the film will tell the story of Shelley’s early life. Reportedly, Shelley based her famous book off of a nightmare she about a corpse coming to life and haunting people, so it might be opportune to depict that in the film. Admittedly, that “dream” claim may have been an attempt to cover up the fact that there, historically, was a Frankenstein Castle where an unrelated alchemist was believed to have brought a corpse to life by the local villagers. It’s either that or she took some inspiration from François-Félix Nogaret’s Le Miroir des événemens actuels, ou la Belle au plus offrant, which featured a scientist named Frankénsteïn who creates a near-living automaton — a story published nearly 30 years prior.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
Then again, to be fair, she also based her infamous doctor on her own husband… let’s just say if you cheat on your wife with her own stepsister — especially after she just suffered a miscarriage — the revenge is going to be something spectacular. And before we leave you today, let’s just acknowledge the elephants in the room.
First off, Frankenstein was the scientist — not the monster. He was also a college student, not an old man. There was no “Igor” and his name is supposed to be Fritz. Exactly how the monster was created was intentionally kept as a secret, with the first film adaptation of the story having him be created in a cauldron like a Powerpuff Girl. Thomas Edison made said first film adaptation and Gene Wilder’s “Young Frankenstein” is the greatest movie ever. Is that all? Will that make you happy?