Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Socratis Otto, Jai Courtney, Kevin Grevioux, Aden Young
Director: Stuart Beattie
Genre: Thriller, Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Running Time: 92 minutes
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, Socratis Otto, Jai Courtney, Kevin Grevioux and Aden Young as Victor Frankenstein.
Release Date: March 20th, 2014
This is a whole new world, it's a whole new mythology, and a whole new take on this classic character. "Stuart Beattie, Director/Screenwriter
From the makers of the hit Underworld series, comes a gripping new tale of mortal enemies and supernatural rivals, with a modern-day Frankenstein's creature at its very center. The Gothic action-thriller I, Frankenstein takes audiences into an ongoing war between vigilant gargoyles and ferocious demons over the souls of humankind.
Now, caught in the roiling conflict is Dr. Victor Frankenstein's still-surviving creation, Adam (Aaron Eckhart), as both sides race to discover the powerful secret to his immortality.
'This is the story of how Frankenstein's monster begins to earn his humanity,"
screenwriter and director Stuart Beattie says. 'We call him Adam in our film and we take him on a modern adventure where he gets caught up in a hidden war between two supernatural races of good and evil. Both sides want him for their own reasons, and he has to struggle to find his own purpose and meaning. He has to figure out who he is, what he is and why he is. He makes hard choices to become the person that he knows he should be … but perhaps doesn't want to
The producers are Tom Rosenberg (Underworld), Gary Lucchesi (Primal Fear), Richard Wright (The Lincoln Lawyer, Underworld), Andrew Mason (The Matrix, Tomorrow, When the War Began), and Sidney Kimmel (The Place Beyond The Pines, Lars and the Real Girl).
Executive producers are Troy Lum, Eric Reid, David Kern, James McQuaide, Bruce Toll, Jim Tauber, Matt Berenson, and Kevin Grevioux. The director of photography is Ross Emery, Michelle McGahey is the production designer, Marcus D'arcy is the editor, Cappi Ireland is the costume designer, with music by Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, casting by Nikki Barrett, and US casting by Deborah Aquila, CSA and Tricia Wood, CSA.
I, Frankenstein's fresh take on the world's most infamous man-made monster began when Lakeshore Entertainment's Tom Rosenberg optioned the rights to the graphic novel of the same name. Conceived in the fertile imagination of Underworld creator Kevin Grevioux – an imagination where classic monsters and mythological creatures take on a fierce, contemporary edge – Tom Rosenberg saw the potential to revisit anew one of the most richly resonant characters of all time.
Says Kevin Grevioux of his inspiration: 'I've been a fan of the universal monsters since I was a kid, and I've always been very interested in pulling them into the modern world. After I cocreated Underworld, I thought I might take a crack at Frankenstein, but with a story that deals with the monster instead of Dr. Frankenstein and really gets into who and what the monster is.
Lakeshore did such an incredible job producing Underworld, they were the natural people to go to after I finished the script. They really know their way around the genre and they instantly gravitated to this story."
Tom Rosenberg approached Hopscotch Features, the noted Australian production company with whom Lakeshore had collaborated on The Cave, and they too were excited to run with the concept. 'We were immediately enthusiastic about the opportunity to reimagine Mary Shelley's infamous character in participation with Lakeshore," says Hopscotch's Andrew Mason. 'The idea of Frankenstein's monster, and the rarely seen but captivatingly human side of the character, is hauntingly seductive. The monster is one of the most compelling figures in all of literature and I became increasingly certain that this intensely eventful story was not only
inherently cinematic, but also relevant to our times."
In search of someone who could fully capitalise on those cinematic qualities in a story for our times, the producers hit upon screenwriter and director Stuart Beattie, with whom Mason had made the innovative Tomorrow, When The War Began. Stuart Beattie is already known for meshing classic characters with modern action in films ranging from The Pirates of the Caribbean to G.I Joe, but this was a chance to completely re-envision a creature that has been a staple of movie history since 1910.
Like the producers, Stuart Beattie couldn't resist the concept. He was instantly drawn in by Kevin Grevioux's vision of Frankenstein's monster still at large and trying to find his humanity two centuries after he was brought to life. But then he took that appealing concept in his own inventive direction.
Using that idea as a foundation, Stuart Beattie forged an entirely original Gothic universe, one where humans are shadowed by fierce demons below and peace-seeking gargoyles above in a battle as eternal as the war between Light and Dark. Then, he put Frankenstein's creation, who calls himself Adam – and the electrifying secrets of his immortal life – at the heart of their quest for supremacy. The result is an up-to-date take on Frankenstein and a story filled with grit, action, humor, romance and the timeless temptations of endless life and power.
Stuart Beattie explains, 'I went away and I came up with a whole world, story and characters. I was searching for creatures that hadn't really been seen before in films. We've seen vampires, we've seen werewolves, we've seen zombies, so I was looking for something different.
Gargoyles and demons seemed to be two cool new things that most people have heard about but maybe don't know that much about. This was the perfect fertile ground for me to create a whole new mythology."
The producers were exhilarated by his epic approach. 'We felt our best hope of doing justice to this immensely complicated character was to depict him in the midst of a most complex fight: between the universal forces of good and evil," says Andrew Mason. 'Stuart Beattie uncovered the gripping – and unpredictably human – nature of this character in the greatest battle of his life."
Adds Tom Rosenberg: 'Stuart Beattie's script was amazing. There was something so fantastical and other-worldly about it, we were all excited to bring it to life."
Gary Lucchesi, president of Lakeshore Entertainment, was equally impressed. 'We
knew the idea of bringing Frankenstein into contemporary time was the right idea, as was bringing in Stuart Beattie to write and direct. Stuart Beattie had such a great take on the story," he says.
The story's creator was also pleased to see where Stuart Beattie took the concept. 'Stuart Beattie has a great sense of the fantastic," says Kevin Grevioux. 'He fashioned a very interesting tale, using all his skills, and helped us to create something really cool. He's also a great guy to work with."
As he wrote, Stuart Beattie became increasingly fascinated with Frankenstein's creature as someone who for two desolate centuries has grappled with the line between monster and man, always forced to remain on the outskirts of society. Along with Andrew Grevioux's graphic novel, he was inspired by Mary Shelley's ground-breaking 1818 novel that introduced the character, but he went further, imagining who that creature would have become in a modern world.
'I think he's a wonderful character," Stuart Beattie says, 'because he's so alone in the world and who doesn't know what it feels like to be alone? He literally is the only one of his kind and his quest is a search for companionship, it's a search for love, it's a search for purpose and for things I think that audiences all around the world can identify with."
Stuart Beattie was also inspired by the tragedy of Frankenstein's origin story in which he was denied a companion who might have made his existence less confounding. That led him to bring Adam into the orbit of a female scientist who is the first human being to ever empathise with him, even as she grapples with the shock that he is real.
'Adam has always wanted someone who he can share his existence with," Stuart Beattie says.
'From day one he was treated like dirt by his own father, who basically abandoned him at birth. He was run out of town, just because of how he was made, through no fault of his own. When he did go back to his father and ask for the one thing that he needed, someone just like him, his father first agreed to make another, and then at the last second reneged on that promise and denied him that. And since then, I think for 200 years the only thing he has wanted is love."
Producer Richard Wright, who also produced Underworld: Awakening and
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, felt the character, as Stuart Beattie re-imagined him, resonated in our world. 'When I first read the script, I said, -Stuart Beattie has cracked it! He's really done it,'" recalls Richard Wright. 'All the things that we were after – to humanise the Frankenstein character, to craft a thrilling story, to come up with worthy opponents, and to forge a new world of compelling creatures – he absolutely nailed each one."
Like his namesake, Adam, Frankenstein was the very first of his kind – but to this day, he remains alone, with no companionship, no communion with anyone else who shares his notquite- human experiences of the world.
Stuart Beattie knew that his version of Frankenstein's creature would require an actor as skilled with complex emotions as with physical action and suspense. The filmmakers found that unique combination in Aaron Eckhart, known for a wide range of dramatic and action roles that share in common one thing: a palpable intensity. His many notable roles have ranged from -Harvey Dent' aka -Two-Face' in The Dark Knight and a soldier fighting aliens in Battle Los Angeles to a grieving father in Rabbit Hole and a silver-tongued tobacco spokesman in Thank You for
Aaron Eckhart also had the strong physical presence to carry off a creature whose appearance had to be both haunting and intriguing. Says Richard Wright: 'Aaron Eckhart coming on board crystallised what this character should be for us. Aaron Eckhart has a fantastic face. If you're going to get an actor and put scars on his face and make him up grotesquely you still want him to be good-looking and somebody that the audience can identify with, both men and women alike. Aaron Eckhart brought those qualities."
As soon as he took on the role, Aaron Eckhart began exploring Adam's inner world – and his everlasting yearning to know what it would be like to have a human soul. He saw the character as someone hunting for an identity and a reason for his confounding existence. 'He's a man in search of himself. I think a lot of people can relate to that," says Aaron Eckhart.
Aaron Eckhart took a lot of his inspiration from Mary Shelley's original depiction of
Frankenstein's creature. Born from a highly unorthodox scientific experiment, Mary Shelley's creature is soon reviled and hunted, while longing for kindness and company. In Eckhart's depiction, even 200 years later he has not yet found any peace.
'Historically the monster of Frankenstein has been considered to be a vicious, feral
character," notes Aaron Eckhart. 'However in this film and in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, yes, he's outwardly scarred but he's also inwardly scarred, and that was important. But you also see that he was not wanted by his father, that he has had to fend for himself alone in a dangerous world. You see that he has always been looking for some kind of love."
With the constant danger Adam is in, Aaron Eckhart had to enter into intensive training for the role for several months. 'Among other things, I learned the art of Kali stick fighting," he explains. 'It's a technique of fighting that my character uses that's very complex and intricate."
Stuart Beattie was impressed with Aaron Eckhart's ability to embody every aspect of Adam, including his physical prowess. 'There's great joy in having a performer who can actually perform the stunts as you photograph them," he muses. 'To me, that is part of the fun of this movie: you're going to see Aaron Eckhart do his stunts and fights and, my goodness, he does them well; he's amazing."
Andrew Grevioux also felt that Aaron Eckhart fulfilled on his original vision of a modern Frankenstein's creature. 'Aaron Eckhart's ability to carry this character was nothing short of incredible.
Here's this very good-looking guy and he's transformed himself into a monster with more gravitas of any of the previous Frankensteins that I've ever seen," he summarises.
Demons, Gargoyles And A Human Scientist
Adam's unusual nature has brought him to the attention of two ancient races long in conflict with one another: the benevolent gargoyles and the hell-spawned demons who live at the margins of the seen world. Ever since Victor Frankenstein re-animated the dead 200 years ago, his creature has been an obsession of Prince Naberius, the demon leader who has been trying for centuries to find a way to forge soul-less human forms that can be easily possessed.
If life can be made from human corpses – as Dr. Frankenstein insisted it could - it would be the answer to Naberius' quest for domination of earth.
Taking on the role is Bill Nighy, whose broad range has recently taken him from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, as well as playing the Vampire Elder Viktor in the Underworld series.
Bill Nighy was drawn initially by the scope of the story. 'It was a really good, tight script, with elements of an epic war and romance," he says.
He was also thrilled to sink his teeth into such a lavishly evil character. Says Bill Nighy of Naberius: 'I'm on very, very good terms with Satan, and I'm also highborn in as much as I am a Prince and the leader of a legion of 666 other demons. I have for thousands of years been wandering the world trying to find a way of inhabiting human forms in order to conquer the gargoyles who are our bitter enemies."
The filmmakers were gratified that Bill Nighy joined the cast. 'We had worked with Bill Nighy a number of times on the Underworld movies – and we've always been huge fans of his," says Lucchesi.
Adds Stuart Beattie: 'Bill Nighy is an absolute gift. He was just perfect for Naberius and fortunately he really liked the script. We talked a lot about how we could make Naberius come alive and feel real and that's what he did."
In the disguise of biotechnology mogul Dr. Wessex, Naberius hires the very human
Terra Wade, a talented electrophysiologist, to conduct cutting edge research into the effects of electrical stimulation on the dead. Though she is also a beautiful young woman, Terra is in many ways a modern rendition of Dr. Frankenstein – brilliant but dabbling in the most dangerous areas of science – which made her intriguing to cast.
'For Terra, I needed to find someone who you believe is both intelligent and strong," Stuart Beattie explains. 'When Yvonne Strahovski came into the room, she had both those qualities.
She is one of the most passionate actors I have encountered, and teamed with Aaron Eckhart, the dynamic was incredible."
Yvonne Strahovski – a rising Australian-born star recently seen as -Hannah McKay' in Showtime's Dexter series – says that she read the script and was instantly drawn to playing Terra. 'Stuart Beattie is such a talented writer," she says, 'I didn't want to put the script down."
Once he cast her, Stuart Beattie watched Yvonne Strahovski immerse herself in the role. 'She is the main human character in the whole film – and she carries the fate of humanity on her shoulders," he observes. 'Yvonne Strahovski was just terrific at portraying that."
Yvonne Strahovski found herself caught up in some unusual research in preparation for the role.
'I did a lot of Google-ing about electrophysiology and cardiology and what it all means. I also met with a cardiologist who explained to me the correlation between electrophysiology and electricity in the cells and how they function," she explains.
'That's something that I felt I needed to have a good grasp on to understand Terra."
But the real challenge came in portraying Terra's increasingly close link to Adam, a
creature she at first dismisses as mere fiction, then begins to see his potential to be something more than the lonely demon assassin he has allowed himself to become. 'In many respects, Yvonne Strahovski has one of the most difficult roles in the movie," says Andrew Mason. 'She could have done something very predictable with the part of Terra, but instead, she found an illuminating complexity."
Adam also introduces Terra, much to her disbelief, to the existence of gargoyles, an army of good trying to halt chaos from reigning on earth. To play the gargoyle's long-reigning leader – Queen Leonore, who rescues Adam from destruction early in his life – the filmmakers chose Miranda Otto, the Australian actress whose films include War of the Worlds, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and What Lies Beneath.
Stuart Beattie says it was Miranda Otto's emotional authenticity that made her a match with such an ethereal being. 'Every line that Miranda Otto delivers you absolutely believe, and she's got some of the most fantastical lines in the film to speak," he muses. 'When Miranda Otto and Aaron Eckhart go at each other, you're seeing two great actors at the top of their game and it's so much fun to watch."
Miranda Otto was thrilled to take on a rare female action heroine. 'I was intrigued by Leonore as leader and Queen of the Gargoyle Order," the actress says. 'I was fascinated by the moral dilemma that Frankenstein's monster presents her. The gargoyles are meant to protect the human race and be a source of good in the world but Adam is neither Human nor Demon. How much compassion can she show him and still fight for the greater good? Leonore and Adam are
not always on the same side."
Queen Lenore's right-hand man, Gideon, is played by another rapidly ascending
Australian actor, Jai Courtney who was recently seen as Bruce Willis' son in A Good Day to Die Hard. Jai Courtney describes Gideon as 'an incredibly loyal guy, who believes in Queen Lenore's cause and protecting the human race."
Another key gargoyle is Keziah, who recognises Adam's humanity. Stuart Beattie chose Australian actress Caitlin Stasey, with whom he had previously worked on Tomorrow, When the War Began. Though Keziah is a low-ranging gargoyle, it gave Stasey the opportunity to portray a headstrong character. 'Keziah is fueled by a desire to rid the world of demons," Caitlin Stasey explains. 'She's very courageous and brave and morally upstanding, but she's also tough and intimidating."
Sums up Stuart Beattie: 'We've got a wonderful cast, all up and down the ranks. There are a lot of great characters, with their own motivations, agendas and journeys, and they all get caught up on this ride together with Adam. It is an action film, certainly. But its story is driven solely by the choices each character makes."
The World Of I, Frankenstein
The story of I, Frankenstein is set in an unnamed gothic metropolis that both resembles our contemporary world and takes it to a more fantastical extreme. Bringing it to life took Stuart Beattie into fresh visual territory – and he took with him a team including director of photography Ross Emery (The Wolverine, Underworld: Rise of The Lycans), production designer Michelle McGahey (Tomorrow, When the War Began) and costume designer Cappi Ireland (The Tender Hook).
Early on the decision was made to shoot in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne might not come to mind as the world's most Gothic city, but it features such versatile geography that it was able to serve as a wide-open canvas for Stuart Beattie's vision of all nighttime shoots and intricate set-pieces.
Born in Melbourne, Stuart Beattie knew the city could be transformed both into Adam's past and current-day worlds. 'Everything you need is there. There are great visual effects houses, great locations and great sound stages. We were basically able to create an absolutely believable European style city," he muses.
While the film begins in the lamp-lit 18th century, the creature known as Adam soon emerges into a modern city – though one split between soaring, ancient cathedrals and the cold, underground laboratories where scientific breakthroughs are underway.
To capture these diverse images, cinematographer Emery chose the RED Epic® HD camera system for its extreme versatility. 'You can take more risks and you can capture your imagination better," Emery says of the digital cameras. 'I was really pleased with the way the system worked on this film and with being able to use the cameras in such a way that the actors had more freedom to react to what was happening in the story and to each other."
Emery utilised contrasting color palettes to evoke the way Adam is caught between the demon, gargoyle and human worlds, feeling he belongs to none of them. 'We use a lot colors that are in-between primary pure colors," he notes. 'This gives the world its own look – and reminds the audiences that there is a high level of fantasy going on."
Amidst the fantasy, Emery also honed an intense atmosphere of action, one reflecting Adam's constant struggle to survive as a hunted being. He especially enjoyed collaborating with Beattie on Adam's battle sequences, as mortally wounded demons burst into the flames of hellfire.
'Adam has become quite proficient at finding the demon hordes and -descending' them, as they would say," says the cinematographer. 'We tailored these action scenes to really highlight the way that Adam fights. He's a very physical creature, with his own primal, brutal manner."
Stuart Beattie, in turn, was exhilarated by working with Emery. 'He is an absolute legend," says the screenwriter/director. 'Lakeshore originally asked me to meet with him – and it turned out we had very similar ideas about what to do and how to do it. It was amazing working with him."
For production designer McGahey, who previously worked with Stuart Beattie on Tomorrow, When the War Began, I, Frankenstein brought a rare opportunity to design a fantasy city from the ground up. 'We reflected on European and Eastern Bloc cities," she explains. 'I saw the city as over-scaled, clean but messy in the corners, as well as empty and cold. Within the city, the cathedral is a place that is ascending and the Wessex Institute is a place that is descending, so the colors reflect that. The cathedral is warm, and Wessex is very, very cold."
These contrasts were also at work in the costume designs of Cappi Ireland, who has twice won the Australian Film Institute's Award for Best Costumes. She especially enjoyed designing the gargoyle garments. 'Gargoyles are kind of an ethereal, monastic warrior group, so they had to look powerful and strong yet also vulnerable and soft," the designer explains. 'And then of course there is Queen Leonore, who we wanted to be an ethereal shining beauty, which Miranda Otto really is."
Ireland purposely avoided standard gladiator garb. 'We looked more at images of
warrior monks, and tried to stay away from the typical leather vibe," Cappi Ireland continues. 'We wanted to do something that hadn't been done before. We also aged all of the gargoyle costumes so they looked like they'd been worn for centuries, and showed the battles they've been through."
For Naberius, she aimed for elegant evil. Cappi Ireland notes, 'Sometimes you can create something sinister by making a character look really good. Bill Nighy wears beautiful, sleek, tailor-made Italian suits – so when he shows his evilness, it's even more chilling."
The piece de resistance for Ireland was Adam himself, especially as he appears after 200 years of roaming the earth. She set out to create the look of an outsider who has learned to blend in. 'As time's gone by, Adam's scars have healed and he looks only a bit unusual walking down the street of modern society," she observes. 'We wanted a look that suggests that Adam is able to slip in and out of the human world, even if he doesn't feel he's a part of it."
The intricate prosthetic work of makeup effects supervisors Nick Nicolaou and Paul
Katte – co-founders of Sydney-based Make-up Effects Group, known for their work on The Hobbit – was equally key to creating the characters, especially the demons. Beattie was clear from the beginning that he didn't want the demons to be caricatures, but rather to be dark, twisted riffs on human form.
Nick Nicolaou and Paul Katte scoured the internet for human inspiration. 'We looked for images of people with wrinkles and solid jaws. They were the basis for our sculptures. We'd sculpt a human face and then we'd distort it to make it look as demonic as possible," Nick Nicolaou explains.
They crafted a different look for each demon, delineating their rank by their horns.
'There's the minion rank, who have pale faces, a lot of veins and breakdown in their skin. And then you get the typical demons, which have the smallest set of horns, followed by the middemons, such as Zuriel and Helek, who have slightly stronger horn structure, to suggest more dominance," Nick Nicolaou says. 'And then we move to Prince Naberius who has the most elaborate horn design of all."
Nick Nicolaou and Paul Katte say Adam's makeup was one of the most demanding creative challenges of their careers – in large part because Stuart Beattie wanted to straddle a fine line between the grotesque, stitched-up appearance of a classic Frankenstein monster and a more subtly uncanny visage, befitting Adam's long life and evolving humanity.
'For the current-day Adam, we used what we call prosthetic transfers, which are
basically a three-dimensional transfer using an acetate-type film that we apply like a Band-Aid," Paul Katte explicates. 'For the 1700's Adam, we instead used a silicone makeup, with a more elaborate stitch design and a more contorted look."
The duo especially enjoyed collaborating with the cast and crew. 'It's really enjoyable for us to do good work, but it's even more enjoyable to work with people who are appreciative of what you do," says Paul Katte. 'That made a huge difference for doing our best work."
VFX and Stunts
To give the shape-shifting gargoyles and demons of I, Frankenstein their own realistic life on screen, Stuart Beattie brought on board visual effects supervisor James McQuaide, known for his visceral work on the Underworld series of films. Collaborating with several Australian effects house, James McQuaide oversaw close to 1,000 visual effects shots for the production.
'My objective on I, Frankenstein was to take the great script that Stuart Beattie put together and find ways with visual effects to support and enhance the story," says James McQuaide.
That process began with a lot of talk about gargoyles – which we usually think of as leering, medieval stone sculptures meant to scare off evil spirits, but in Stuart Beattie's vision are a fully animate race and powerful forces for good. Stuart Beattie wanted to pluck them from the pinnacles of grand cathedrals, and transform them into eight-foot tall flying creatures with thirty-foot wingspans.
'What I loved about the idea of gargoyles is that they are just so cinematic," says
Stuart Beattie. 'They fly, they have massive wings, they have ferocious claws and teeth, they rip things apart. They're really cool. They're guardians of good, the sentinels on every rooftop, keeping an eye out for evil."
Stuart Beattie knew early on that these High Gothic creatures could only come to fruition inside a computer. 'I'm a fan of practical effects and prosthetics, but the gargoyle is a creature that would not have been possible to make appear real unless we did it in full CG," he explains.
Much research went into the architectural history and traditional look of gargoyles, but Stuart Beattie and his effects team also had other considerations – including the physics of making such huge bodies fly. 'Remember we're dealing with a massive creature that is made of stone and quite heavy, but it needs to not only fly itself but also be able to carry humans around. It had to be believable that they could glide like a bird yet have the heft of a mighty, demonkilling warrior," says the director.
The rapid transition of the gargoyles into their human forms was another fun challenge for James McQuaide and his team. 'I've done lots of transformation work on other films," James McQuaide says, 'and we've always taken sort of the American Werewolf in London approach where audiences see the geometry and the volume of the creatures changing. But in this picture we wanted to do something different."
James McQuaide continues, 'These creatures transform by wrapping their wings around themselves, and from those wings, they emerge into human form, sort of like a butterfly coming out of the chrysalis. The wings give way to a human's robes. But it was a heck of a challenge to give the wings the right texture, particularly because they had to feel like stone and then become the texture of a robe and vice versa. I can't think of a picture where I've seen that before."
Working in synchronicity with the effects is the film's stunt work, which was supervised by Chris Anderson, whose feature film credits go back to the original Mad Max. Chris Anderson, who previously worked with Beattie on Tomorrow, When The War Began, was especially enthusiastic about the fact that Aaron Eckhart was in top-notch shape to perform his own stunts.
'We had an amazing stunt performer in Aaron Eckhart," Chris Anderson says. 'He trained for four months getting ready for the role. There were many battles to choreograph and we set out to bring something new to each one."
For Stuart Beattie, every element of this highly technical shoot was equally essential, whether it was creatively choreographed fight sequences, imaginative design work or clever digital effects. But in the end, he says the most important thing was the strong human story driving everything.
He summarises: 'Getting the action to look real, and photographing it in a way that you can tell that it is our actors and not stunt people in every scene was challenging. And there are so many visual effects transformations, too. We aimed to make every part of the film feel different and fresh and new – but at the heart of it, the film is always driven by Adam's story and his journey from a monster to a man."
Release Date: March 20th, 2014