Name a more iconic duo than Guillermo del Toro and exciting projects that end up not happening. The Oscar-winner is Hollywood’s King of What Could Have Been, and although I’ll always be bummed about The Haunted Mansion and At the Mountains of Madness, the one that keeps me up at night is Del Toro’s scrapped Frankenstein, which would have starred the filmmaker’s frequent creature-collaborator Doug Jones as the monster. So when I got a chance to sit down with Jones for an episode of “Collider Connected“, I asked the actor what we could’ve expected. The details are not going to help me get over this.
According to Jones, pre-production was ramped up enough around 2009 and 2010 for creature shop Spectral Motion to do a makeup test. What Jones saw was completely different from Boris Karloff‘s iconic creature, something gaunt and skinny based on the illustrations of Swamp Thing co-creator Bernie Wrightson.
“(M)y first thought is that I’m not the big, broad, big-boned lumbering Frankenstein that you have in mind. But it was told to me, Guillermo is a big fan of Bernie Wrightson, and a friend of Bernie Wrightson, and Bernie had illustrated a version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and all of the images of Frankenstein’s monster in that, that’s what he was going to pattern my look after. Which was more emaciated, little skinnier, little more pathetic looking. And yet, had an unnatural physical prowess, an unnatural athleticness to him. He was sewn together with spare parts of a couple different bodies. Very bony face, long, stringy, drawn hair.
I never went through a makeup test myself for it. But I did go to the creature shop, Spectral Motion, who was developing the look for him at the time…I was there for something else, and Mike Elizalde, the owner of the shop, said ‘I gotta show you something’. Then he unveiled a head and shoulders bust of me with this monster makeup built on it. It was like, honestly, my eyes welled it. It was so hauntingly beautiful, and it did pay reverence to Bernie Wrightson’s artwork and gave you a different-looking Frankenstein’s monster than what you’re used to.”
Although Jones couldn’t hard-confirm, his best guess at what killed Del Toro’s Frankenstein is, unsurprisingly, Universal’s spectacular failure The Dark Universe.
“The idea came to do what Marvel is doing, where there’s an entire Universal Monsters Universe. Where they can interplay with each other and guest in each other’s movies, that sort of thing. That new era was going to start with the new Mummy movie that Tom Cruise was a part of. My guess would be, and again, I have no authority to say this, but my guess would be Guillermo probably wanted to make a standalone movie that was just his piece of art, that would be an homage to the book and an homage to the original film. I have not heard hide nor hair of that ever since. But if offered, I would kill to…anything Guillermo does, he knows I’ll say yes to whatever, and I’ll find out the story later. He’s the one director I trust with whatever he offers me.”
Check out exactly what Jones had to say in the player above, and be on the lookout for the full hour-long interview later this week. For now, here’s what the actor had to say about the big changes coming to Star Trek: Discovery season 3.