Just four months ago, during the online ‘Comic-Con event’, Guillermo del Toro said what his two dream projects were. One was, unsurprisingly, At The Mountains Of Madness, which he’s been trying to get off the ground for ages and actually stands more of a chance of doing now than it did before, going by this resurgence of interest in H. P. Lovecraft’s work. The other was a “two or three” film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Frankenstein? Yes, this was something else that he’s been wanting to make and it almost got off the ground ten years ago. Del Toro’s frequent collaborator Doug Jones – who has delivered creature performances in most of the director’s films, and would have played Frankenstein’s Monster in del Toro’s version of the story – was recently interviewed by ‘Collider’, and during the conversation, he revealed that he was able to see a bust of the monster design before the project was stopped by Universal.
“My 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.
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 up. 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.”
It seems that Universal opted to proceed with their Dark Universe, and we all know how that turned out. Maybe del Toro should try to make his Frankenstein as a TV series – it sure stands more of a chance of getting off the ground.