A new play by Nick Dear based on the novel by Mary Shelley
I followed nature into her lair, and stripped her of her secrets! I brought torrents of light to a darkening world! Is that wrong?
Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the friendless Creature, increasingly desperate and vengeful, determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.
All I ask is the possibility of love!
Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is adapted for the stage by Nick Dear and realised by Danny Boyle in his return to the theatre after winning the Academy Award for best director for Slumdog Millionaire.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller will alternate the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. Please note that this casting information is not available in advance for National Theatre Live
Slowly I learnt the ways of humans: how to ruin, how to hate, how to debase, how to humiliate. And at the feet of my master I learnt the highest of human skills, the skill no other creature owns: I finally learnt how to lie.
SOME FURTHER INFORMATION
A monster double act for Danny Boyle's Frankenstein
By Baz Bamigboye
Last updated at 8:50 AM on 29th October 2010
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle has come up with a radical vision for his stage version of Frankenstein by casting two stars - Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller - to play the much misunderstood creature.
The actors will play Mary Shelley’s literary creations - the monster and his creator Dr Frankenstein - on alternate nights at the National Theatre when performances begin in early February on the building’s Olivier stage.
‘They’ll share it,’ Boyle told me exclusively. ‘One night one will be Frankenstein, while the other will play his creator Victor,’ he said, adding that sharing the role will keep the production fresh.
Also, the show - a major coup for the National and artistic chief Nicholas Hytner - will be told from the monster’s point of view.
Danny Boyle has cast two stars - Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller - to play the much misunderstood creature
The play, written by Nick Dear from Shelley’s famous Gothic novel, will explore the principles of life and examine how something conjured from body parts taken from graveyards and slaughter houses could observe how others live and behave, and take on the traits of man: good and bad.
Boyle, who won an Academy Award for Slumdog Millionaire, told me he was delighted to have cast two excellent theatre actors. He said he saw Cumberbatch’s recent stage performances and he has known Miller for nearly two decades.
Benedict, 34, has enjoyed a sensational run recently, turning in one of the year’s best performances in Thea Sharrock’s sublime exploration of Terence Rattigan’s After The Dance and taking Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes into the 21st century on BBC TV. The drama is now being broadcast in the U.S..
And as if that wasn’t enough, Steven Spielberg cast him in a top role in his film of War Horse, based on the Michael Morpurgo novel that became a theatrical hit for the National.
Jonny, 37, has worked with Boyle before, playing Sick Boy in the director’s acclaimed film Trainspotting in 1996 - the year he married Angelina Jolie.
The actor did a lot of stage work early in his career, including the original production of Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing. Lately he has worked a lot in America. He also gave a beautifully understated performance in the Channel 4 film Endgame.
Frankenstein, which begins rehearsals in early December, will mark Boyle’s return to the theatre after what he called a ‘15-year distraction’ making movies.
So far these have included Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Millions, Slumdog Millionaire and his latest picture, the extraordinary 127 Hours, chosen as the closing gala last night for the BFI London Film Festival sponsored by American Express.
127 Hours is a gripping tale of inspiration and survival starring James Franco as a young man forced to amputate part of his right arm after it was crushed by a boulder and he became trapped in the Utah mountains.
Boyle’s early career was in the theatre, where he worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company but mainly for the Royal Court, so it was highly appropriate that Stephen Daldry, Boyle’s old friend and Royal Court colleague, presented him with the BFI Fellowship at Wednesday night’s BFI London Film Festival Awards.
Danny wants to bring the story-telling knowledge he has garnered during his time behind the camera to the stage: exploring big themes with visual flair but also detailed intimacy.
In the novel, people fear Frankenstein’s creation because of his appearance. But the blind man in Shelley’s tale can’t see the creature’s looks, and so accepts him.
And even though Boyle will keep the drama in the early 19th century, it clearly has 21st-century resonance, because society is still troubled by people who differ from what we perceive to be the norm — both politically and cosmetically.