Celebrating Weird On The ‘Lisa Frankenstein’ Red Carpet

Lisa Frankenstein

In Zelda Williams’ latest film, Lisa Frankenstein, a coming-of-rage love story from acclaimed writer Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body) we meet a misunderstood teenager and her high school crush, who happens to be a handsome corpse. After a set of playfully horrific circumstances bring him back to life, the two embark on a murderous journey to find love, happiness… and a few missing body parts along the way. 

Recently, Dread Central’s Shannon McGrew took part in red carpet interviews for the LA premiere of the film. On hand were director Zelda Williams and actors Cole Sprouse (“The Creature”), Carla Gugino (“Janet”), and Liza Soberano (“Taffy”). 

Lisa Swallows (played by Kathryn Newton) is an awkward, cringe-worthy teen trying to find her place in the world after going through a traumatic experience. She finds herself drawn to the macabre, spending most of her time alone at the grave of an unmarried man. Through a series of unfortunate events, the undead man reanimates into a mute creature who eventually stumbles his way to Lisa. 

When speaking with Williams, she discussed how she approached the character of The Creature and the direction she gave Cole Sprouse in expressing his emotions without the use of words.  

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“Before we started filming, I actually had Cole go [to] mime school,” laughed Williams. “I think more than anything I genuinely trusted his choices. When you’re looking at a script there weren’t any grunts written in for his responses. That was just him choosing the moments he felt The Creature would vocalize, and I really loved his choices.” 

Breathing life into The Creature is actor Cole Sprouse, most known for his role as Jughead in CW’s hit show, Riverdale. In order to bring The Creature to fruition, Sprouse had to undergo a tedious process of practical makeup application. When discussing what it was like to transform into The Creature, Sprouse stated:

“[The makeup process] is exciting and it helps you get into character. In the beginning, it [took] between 5-7 hours to do but by the end of it, as he gets more human over time, it was a little easier. I really only had about a week and a half of intense makeup sequences but after that, it all got easier.” 

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Not only did Sprouse have to physically transform for the role but he also had to perform mute as his character hadn’t yet developed its ability to speak. When discussing taking on this unique challenge, Sprouse stated:

“I think you get to realize all the crutches you have with good dialogue when you don’t have any. I worked with a mime named Lorin Salm for about three months and he was a student of Marcel Marceau. The stuff that we were focusing on was kind of emotional, physical work which was nice and really helped. Zelda and Kathryn and everyone created a space that was open enough to play. Zelda also focused on wide shots when The Creature was on frame so that you could catch a lot of that theatrical, wider motion stuff which really helped.” 

Having the space to develop your character with the support of your cast is what every actor could hope for. In the case of Lisa Frankenstein, that was a common theme throughout the production. Speaking on what it was like to work with the cast as well as Williams and Diablo Cody, actor Carla Gugino, who plays Lisa’s evil stepmother, Janet, discussed how effortless it was to collaborate with everyone:

“We had a great group across the board. It was a really intimate production. Zelda had a really clear vision from the start. As for the cast, Kathryn was always there every single day and is a total pro. I think she really has such a beautifully, finely tuned performance in this. It’s a really hard tone to set and she really is just exquisite. I also thought she and Cole were so great together. But across the board, it was just a really easy set. The writing is so precise that we had a really beautiful foundation to stand on.”

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The importance of that support can’t be understated and it was especially evident to actor Liza Soberano, who plays Lisa’s bubbly, cheerleading sister, Taffy. With Lisa Frankenstein being her first foray into the horror genre, Soberano was unsure of what to expect. Luckily, she didn’t have to worry as she went on to explain how welcoming the cast was.

“I had a great time working with the cast, Zelda, and Diablo,” explained Soberano. “It was easier than I thought it would be because we had an instant chemistry with each other. Zelda, Kathryn, and Cole did an excellent job in making everyone feel very welcome and comfortable on set. That’s what I was most nervous about because I thought I was going to stand out like a sore thumb because I come from the Philippines and I’m pretty shy. I figured I wouldn’t be able to bond with them right away, but they were constantly pulling me in and making me feel like I was a part of the family.” 

Lisa Frankenstein is out now in theaters.



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