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Exclusive: Daniel Radcliffe On Frankenstein

'At its heart, it’s an adventure movie'

Daniel Radcliffe
Photo: Marco Vittur

With his quirky drama Horns just around the corner, Daniel Radcliffe stopped by to chat movie things with Empire. With his Seb Coe movie Gold currently in a holding pattern, the current Rad-slate is dominated by 20th Century Fox’s new take on Mary Shelley’s weird scientist, Victor Frankenstein. Radcliffe, who plays Igor (or Ygor), bills it as “a real adventure at its heart, a fun movie” while stressing that there’s brains to go with the brawn. “[It’s] very smart in terms of the ideas it’s discussing, [which is] a rare combination for a huge movie.”

Igor, of course, is Frankenstein’s (James McAvoy) factotum. The character maybe lost a little intellectual freight with Marty Feldman’s portrayal of him as a boggle-eyed lunatic in Mel Brooks’ hilarious Young Frankenstein (“It’s pronounced ‘I-gor’!”), so Radcliffe’s version will probably be a little closer to what Shelley intended.

“There is that physicality,” he stressed of Igor’s famous hunchback, “but the story this time around is told through his eyes. He’s granted more of a story than he has been before. It’s an equal partnership where one of them is trying to be dominant, [which is] what separates it from other Frankenstein movies.”

Unlike earlier movie adaptation – and more recently, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful – which dwelt on the relationship between Monster and his creator, here it’s between Victor and Igor. “It’s about the nature of creation, in many ways,” elaborates Radcliffe. “Victor gives Igor new life at the beginning of the movie, so he can be viewed as my creator, and at what point do you step out of that shadow or continually pay homage to the person who gave his life back.”

A Frankenstein origin story, then? “It sort of is,” agreed the actor. “The creation of the monster isn’t right until the end – you see their attempts at it. Although I’m not sure we’re teeing ourselves up for four more movies or anything.” Strangely, an early draft had a sequel-baiting ending. “James (McAvoy) and I looked at it and said, ‘Let’s make one good film first!”

Overseeing all this is Paul McGuigan, directing from a script by Chronicle's Max Landis. Alongside McAvoy and Radcliffe, Victor Frankenstein will boast the acting talents of Mark Gatiss, Jessica Brown Findlay and Andrew Scott when it hits our screens on October 2, 2015.