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Trivia / Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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  • All-Star Cast: Branagh plays the good doctor. Tom Hulce is his best friend. Then-girlfriend Helena Bonham-Carter is his adoptive sister/fiancee (yes, you read that right). Ian Holm is his father. Aidan Quinn is the ship's captain. John Cleese is his mentor. And most shocking of all, Robert De Niro is The Creature.
  • Creator Backlash: Frank Darabont has said in interviews that he was displeased with the finished film, feeling that Kenneth Branagh had mishandled the project.
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  • Deleted Role: Fay Ripley filmed a small role, she was bitten by the Creature, but her scenes never made the final cut.
  • Deleted Scene: Other scenes were shot confirming that Henry is left alive at the end of the film, but they were cut. Henry's fate is left ambiguous, last seen as Victor flees his burning house.
  • Doing It for the Art: Branagh and De Niro thought that the Creature should have mismatched legs and spent hours trying out different types of footwear to get the proper limp. Also, the Creature's birth scene required a full body prothesis and De Niro had to come in at two in the morning and stay absolutely still as a team of makeup artists meticulously stitched him into the suit.
  • Follow the Leader: After the success of Bram Stoker's Dracula, this was clearly intended as a Spiritual Successor. Francis Ford Coppola was originally going to direct too.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • John Cleese plays Victor's mentor, a reformed mad scientist, and is practically unrecognizable due to his straight dramatic performance.
    • On a more subtle note, Helena Bonham-Carter plays a subversion of her usual (at the time) Merchant & Ivory heroines.
  • Production Posse: In addition to Patrick Doyle as the composer, Branagh regulars Ian Holm, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Richard Briers plays the parts of Baron Frankenstein, Elizabeth, and the Old Blind Man respectively.
  • Romance on the Set: This is where Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter fell in love.
  • Star-Derailing Role: This movie put the brakes on Branagh's career as a mainstream actor and director. He didn't mind too much though, as he preferred theatre and indie projects that brought him critical acclaim. It did, however, make it hard for him to put together funding for his Hamlet passion project. It wasn't until the 2010's and his helming of Thor that he began being offered blockbuster projects again.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Francis Ford Coppola originally intended to direct this film as a Spiritual Successor to Bram Stoker's Dracula. He stepped back and allowed Kenneth Branagh to direct instead. They disagreed on numerous things during production, Coppola feeling that the entire first hour of the film should be cut. He later denounced the whole thing.
    • Fred Saberhagen, who wrote the novelization for Bram Stoker's Dracula, allegedly tried to get the novelization job for this film as well just so it could say "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: from the author of Bram Stoker's Dracula" on the cover.
    • Roman Polanski was approached to direct.
    • At one point, Tim Burton was being courted to direct, with Columbia eyeing Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Creature.
    • Branagh was keen to cast Gérard Depardieu as the Creature but Columbia felt that he would not have strong enough box office appeal. Andy García, Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich was also considered.
    • Willem Dafoe was offered the role of Victor Frankenstein.
    • Kate Winslet lobbied very hard for the role of Elizabeth. Although it went to Helena Bonham Carter, Kenneth Branagh was impressed by her and cast her as Ophelia in his version of Hamlet. Emma Thompson was also the first choice for Elizabeth, but she had commitments to Carrington at the time.
    • Christopher Lambert was cast as Henry Clerval but replaced by Tom Hulce before filming.


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