Frankenstein's Casebook Opened
Ghost House Pictures prep Ackroyd novel
There are various Frankenstein movies currently at some stage of development (one by Guillermo Del Toro; one at Lakeshore; one at Sony; one at Slasher Films...) but there's always room for one more, especially when it's based on an excellent novel by Peter Ackroyd. Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert's Ghost House Pictures have snatched The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, with a screenplay by Proof writer David Auburn.
The central conceit of Ackroyd's book is that young Frankenstein attended University College, Oxford with a certain Percy Bysshe Shelley. Sharing an interest with the poet in the "new science" and its implications regarding religion, God and the existence of the soul, Frankenstein begins experimenting with human reanimation, with a certain amount of Burke-and-Hare-like bodysnatching necessary until the perfect specimen arrives, in the form of a turburcular medical student named Jack Keat.*
It's a witty philosophical / historical / horror story that also involves the resurrectionist Doomsday Men, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and Vampyre author Dr John Polidori. A successful film version would need to tread that delicate line between serious literary period drama and horror romp, but having a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright on the script and the skew-wiff horror energy of the Evil Dead team in the mix is a very good start.
Sadly Raimi doesn't seem to be personally directly involved, but Tapert is producing along with former FX man Rodrigo Teixeira (Superman Returns, Alice in Wonderland) and Ilene Staple, who optioned the book a year or so ago. Back then, there was talk of Timur Bekmambetov directing, but there's no mention of him this morning...
*Not explicitly John Keats, but as near as dammit.