What do you get when you set gargoyles, demons and the spawn of Frankenstein in a dystopic universe? You get the kick-ass film I, Frankenstein.
The film, set to hit theaters this January, is already getting a lot of buzz from critics, sci-fi lovers and the like. In fact, the anticipation is so hot, that just last week, the Lionsgate produced movie was the #1 debut trailer, garnering 3.5 million views, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Stuart Beattie–directed film tells the story of Adam (played by Aaron Eckart), a creation of Frankenstein, who finds himself caught in the middle of two vicious eternal clans.
It is the brainchild of screenplay writer, Kevin Grevioux – the mastermind behind the Underworld series. Not only did Grevioux write the screenplay, but he also has a role in the sci-fi thriller.
We got a chance to chop it up with Mr. Grevioux, a Howard University grad, comic book junkie and self proclaimed “geek” to find out what inspires him, how he is making his mark in a predominately white industry and what advice he has for up-and-coming screenplay writers.
Check out what the man behind the blockbuster had to say below.
On what inspired him to write I, Frankenstein:
“It is a project that I had been developing for a while. I’ve always liked the old universal monsters. I am a big fan of horror and so my thing, as with Underworld, I wanted to take those horror characters and turn them into action movies with horror elements. After Underworld, the next character that I wanted to tackle was Frankenstein and I had a pretty cool idea and I kind wanted to go ahead and do that.”
How creative differences changed his original script:
“Later on, after some creative differences in terms of the direction, that is when Stuart B. [Beattie] came aboard and he rewrote my script. What he did is he combined a lot of the elements of my script and took away most of the monsters that I had and just paired them down to two monsters – the gargoyles and the demons – and pretty much kept a lot of the same characters and just wove a different story.”
On what inspires him as a screenplay writer:
“A lot of it comes from the fact that I think that mankind is a simple creature. We are not inherently good and we have to work to be good. Ultimately, we wind up failing. But there is redemption through every human being.
So basically it is about how you become a better individual in the secular sense and looking at what you are and what you are supposed to be regardless of how people treat you or see you and striving for a higher kind of existence in terms of redemption.”
On how his education and science background help his writing:
“I have always been interested in science and science fiction. But when you are a kid growing up when I grew up, how are you going to explain to your parents that you want to do science fiction for a living? What does that even mean? So what I did is a sublimation – where I said ‘Ok, I can’t go into science fiction, but I can go into real science and learn the basis for science fiction,’ and so that’s why I became a scientist. So it is interesting that I came full circle. Once I completed my degree and worked in the field for a while, I used real science to get back into science fiction as a writer.”
On obstacles faced as a minority in the sci-fi world:
“A lot of people for whatever reason think that if you are black you are not going to be into the more speculative aspects of creativity. Usually a lot of black filmmakers are into doing stories about the neighborhood or the environment they came from. You know, more urban environments, and so when you are dealing with let’s say other blacks for instance, a lot of them don’t understand it, they might look at it as a kind of genre that only white guys do, therefore they may not be very supportive. A lot of whites have looked at what I do at times and have said, well how good are you really at coming up with this stuff? Because typically your people don’t do this, so should we trust you? So you get it from both sides.”
On why being a geek rules:
“People that are into monster movies, comic books, horror films or sci-fi – we are all pretty much of the same ilk, we are all geeks. And with geeks, there really doesn’t seem to be that line of demarcation between the races. We are all just geeks.”
On advice for up-and-coming screen writers:
“One of the things I would say is you have to be careful what you hear. The reason being is because people are going to tell you a whole bunch of things that you need to do to break in, but you know what – a lot of those things don’t work. The things you read about in books, things like that you have to go out there and do it yourself and you have to go through a lot of trial and error.”
On some of his favorite sci-fi movies growing up:
“My favorite sci-fi movie was the original Thing from Another World. That was an old Howard Hawks film from 1951 and I think that’s what really got me into it. And I loved King Kong. There was also Godzilla, there was also Ultraman, there was also Close Encounters of Third Kind that I really enjoyed and of course, comic books were a huge influence on my life. Especially Marvel comics with Stan Lee.”
“Comic-Con is cool – it’s always been cool. It’s a place, kind of like a gathering of geeks. It’s gotten a lot of popularity over the last few years, but I remember when these conventions were quite small compared to what they are right now. Now they have turned into multi-media cultural events, sub-cultural and pop cultural events. They are really fun.”
Be sure to check out I, Frankenstein when it hits theaters on Jan. 24, 2014. If you need any more convincing, then take a peek at the super-trailer below.