You’ll not meet a guy more willing to talk to the little guy than Stuart Beattie. Even with smash hit films like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL and G. I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA among his credits, it’s hard not to be in awe of his willingness to share experiences. When I talked to him, he was eager to speak on the 3 year journey to bring I, FRANKENSTEIN to the big screen.
GeekMundo: I, Frankenstein looks like a rip-roaring good time. How on earth did you manage to deal with the challenges and triumphs of shooting such a film?
Stuart Beattie: The challenges were many – taking a literary classic and preserving that wonderful complex character in a hard action movie. Shooting a $100m film for $36m. Shooting in 9 weeks when we really should have had about 15 weeks. Making the whole world believable. The list goes on…
GM: Mercy! That’s a brutally short shoot. Especially for a film so VFX heavy. The trailer makes it look like a much bigger budget! What about the triumphs?
SB: The triumphs? I feel very proud of what we were able to pull off in the time we had with the money we had. It’s a very ambitious film and nobody thought we could get it done and we did. From the crew through the cast, it was a triumph to work with them and harness their talents into a single vision. And that the original pitch I made for the film is still what the film is 3 years later! I pitched it as the story of “a monster who becomes a man.” So very proud of that too.
Beattie spends a little 1 on 1 with Aaron Eckhart on the set of I, FRANKENSTEIN
GM: What was it like putting Aaron through the paces of training? The guy looks ripped!
SB: Aaron was a champion. He did six months hard training in Kali stick fighting, learning the fights, working out every day. Rarely ate. Drank peanut-butter blueberry smoothies every day! Which were delicious. I still make them for myself today…
GM: I’ll need that recipe, methinks. It’s a testament to the cast and crew that you were able to do so much. I, FRANKENSTEIN looks to be an intense ride. In looking at the clips and trailers, the Gargoyles wing-to-coat transformations really stood out, (plus it just looked cool!) Can you tell us about the creative process behind the creation of the demons and gargoyles that fill Adam’s world?
SB: It starts with writing. Writing histories and creating a mythology that is real and cool. I wrote long histories, battles, biographies, the Gargoyle Creed/Oath etc. Then it’s design. Getting designers to draw the creatures. Supervising that. Getting what you want. Then it’s the practical application of all those ideas. How do the gargoyles move? Fly? Transform? Lots of discussions and attempts. Trying and failing. Prosthetics. How they work. How they look. Then putting it all together and making it look cohesive. It’s exhausting!
Adam (Aaron Eckhart) and Terra (Yvonne Strahovski) in I, FRANKENSTEIN. Photo credit: Ben King
GM: I can only imagine. Let’s talk about Stuart Beattie, the man. What got you started in film? What drives your process behind the camera?
SB: I fell in love with movies at age 6 when I saw STAR WARS. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK cemented it for me. GHOSTBUSTERS made me realize I could have a job making films. Process? Telling a great story. Everything is all about story.
GM: I can’t fault you on that at all. Great films. Alright, we gotta know: What are your favourite TV shows/ films/ books? We always like to know what the movers and shakers in the film industry are watching and reading.
SB: Breaking Bad. West Wing. Schindler’s List. Aliens. Jerry Maguire. Scent of a Woman. Tootsie. Beauty and the Beast. Shawshank Redemption. Gravity. Books? Halo: Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund. Anything by Karen Traviss.
Geek Mundo: Pretty varied list there. There’s an incredible amount of work going into this film, Stuart. I’m certainly looking forward to watching it! Your time is precious as the press for I, FRANKENSTEIN heats up and we are honoured that you spent some of it with us. Thank you!
Stuart Beattie: My pleasure, mate. Enjoy!
I, FRANKENSTEIN hits theatres in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D on January 24, 2014!
Synopsis: 200 years after his shocking creation, Dr. Frankenstein’s creature, Adam, still walks the earth. But when he finds himself in the middle of a war over the fate of humanity, Adam discovers he holds the key that could destroy humankind. From the co-writer of the hit supernatural saga, UNDERWORLD, comes the action thriller I, FRANKENSTEIN, written for the screen and directed by Stuart Beattie, screen story by Kevin Grevioux and Stuart Beattie, based on the Darkstorm Studios graphic novel “I, Frankenstein” created by Kevin Grevioux. The story is brought to life by a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, and Aden Young as Victor Frankenstein.