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James Broderick Guest Blog: Frankenstein Gets a Makeover

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In early June we told you about author and professor James F. Broderick’s Now a Terrifying Motion Picture!, after which he offered to write a guest blog for us. The result is this hilarious satire about how Hollywood often ridiculously distorts classic works for contemporary audiences.

James Broderick Guest Blog: Frankenstein Gets a Makeover

[The following information – compiled and transcribed from various legal pads, voice recorders, and Blackberries of certain movie studio executives – reveals the extent of Hollywood’s interest in the Frankenstein story and the desperation to find a new angle for a remake that will appeal to a contemporary, teen-aged audience. This sheaf of papers and transcripts, currently in the hands of a major literary agency, has been documented as authentic and will be published next year as part of a larger cache of documents under the title I Know What You Did Last Pitch Meeting: Horror Movies They Thought You’d Actually Pay To See. The author/compiler of this work wishes to remain anonymous. The names of the studio executives have been redacted for legal reasons.]

STUDIO EXEC #1: (first part of sentence is garbled) …and then – whoosh – the creature appears!

STUDIO EXEC #2: But why, exactly, is he naked?

STUDIO EXEC #1: She.

STUDIO EXEC #2: (After a pause) Ah… (scribbling happily). Tell me again how the creature tracked down the posse of tormentors?

STUDIO EXEC #1: Hacked their Facebook page.

STUDIO EXEC #2: (Nodding as he writes) Got it. That’s good.

[Pages missing here. Notes resume in a different hand, date uncertain]

PRODUCER: …Won’t work – he flopped in that disaster film last quarter. We gotta go with somebody else.

WRITER: So who you looking at? Brad Pitt?

PRODUCER: Nope. Too expensive.

WRITER: George Clooney?

PRODUCER: Too good looking.

WRITER: Jim Carrey?

PRODUCER: Too manic.

WRITER: So what are we left with?

PRODUCER: (Emphatically) Chris Farley.

WRITER: Chris Farley? But—

PRODUCER: Perfect body type! He’s a natural for the creature! Remember that scene in Tommy Boy where he puts on David Spade’s blazer?

WRITER: “Fat guy in little jacket?” I love that scene! (audible laughter)

PRODUCER: Everybody does! Imagine two hours of that!

WRITER: But… um, isn’t Chris Farley dead?

PRODUCER: That’s the beauty of it! We’ll save a fortune on salary! We’ll build the part around outtakes and leftover footage from all his other films. It’s all CGI. It’s perfect! He plays a creature who gets resurrected from the dead and he, himself, is dead! Think of the marketing angle!

WRITER: (Sitting back, reflecting) You know, you might have something here. (Holds hands out in front of himself, spreads his hands out, reading imaginary words, excitedly) “YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN!”

PRODUCER: (Writes that down, pauses) Hmmm. Was Frankenstein a good man? (They look at each other, unsure.)

WRITER: (slightly ashamed) I never read the book.

PRODUCER: It was a book?

[Meeting transcript ends; what now follows was reconstructed from a series of brief texts lifted from a well-known Hollywood agent’s Blackberry device found in the men’s room of a West L.A. sushi bar. They are somewhat disjointed. The editors have regularized spelling and punctuation for clarity.]

NOTES TO SELF:

CONSIDER MAKING THE CREATURE A MORMON (HOLD OFF FINAL DECISION UNTIL ELECTION);

INSTEAD OF A WINDMILL, STAGE CLIMACTIC FINAL MOB SCENE AT COMIC-CON;

POSSIBLE LOVE INTEREST BETWEEN CREATURE AND CREATOR, A LA “BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN”;

WORKING TITLE: “FRANKENSTEIN – ANOTHER AVATAR OF DESTRUCTION” (IN MARKETING CAMPAIGN, WE’LL SHORTEN IT TO SIMPLY “ANOTHER AVATAR.” CH-CHING!)

***

James F. Broderick is an associate professor of English and journalism at New Jersey City University in Jersey City. His most recent book is Now a Terrifying Motion Picture!: Twenty-Five Classic Works of Horror Adapted from Book to Film. He lives in Glen Ridge, NJ.

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