There is something of a Victorian Gothic monster revival happening at the moment, and we could not be more excited. A new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie is on the way, a new Dr Jekyll movie is currently in production – at Hammer Studios, no less – and now, Kit Harington has been cast as Frankenstein’s monster in upcoming Mary Shelley biopic Mary’s Monster.
In addition to these, Universal is also greenlighting diverse and interesting projects such as Ryan Gosling and Derek Cianfrance’s Wolfman, and Nicolas Cage’s Renfield (which is about Dracula’s assistant). These follow on from Leigh Whannell’s great The Invisible Man, which was released in 2020.
Farren Blackburn is directing Mary’s Monster from a screenplay by Deborah Baxtrom. The logline reads, “Terrified of giving voice to the darkness of her subconscious mind, Mary Shelley locks into a dangerous battle with her own ‘inner monster’ as she struggles to write her seminal science fiction novel, Frankenstein.” Shelley’s ‘inner monster’ will be taking the form of Jon Snow himself – Kit Harington. “Mary’s Monster is a brilliantly original and fascinating script and I’m relishing the idea of depicting the unique part of The Monster,” said Harington, via Variety. “An embodiment of Mary Shelley’s psyche. I’m excited by Farren’s vision and passion for the project.”
Clara Rugaard will play Shelley, Sing Street’s Ferdia Walsh-Peelo has also joined the cast as Shelley’s husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, while The Great‘s Sebastian De Souza will play the couple’s friend Lord Byron. This is far from the first time that Mary Shelley’s life has been depicted onscreen, in the 80s we had Ken Russell’s Gothic and Ivan Passer’s Haunted Summer, and more recently there was Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley and Nora Unkel’s A Nightmare Wakes, which was released on Shudder.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller won praise in 2011 for alternating the roles of Frankenstein and the monster on stage in Danny Boyle’s National Theatre production. Harington is also stepping into the large boots of the likes of Robert De Niro, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff. So, no pressure! At least he can bring his experience of playing the undead Snow to the table.
Anyway, it’s an exciting time to be a Victorian horror fan, as well as a lover of monster movies.