Thanks to Boris Karloff’s career-defining performance in 1931′s Frankenstein, we tend to think of Mary Shelley’s revivified monster as old flat-top, groovin’ up slowly. But in Lionsgate’s upcoming I, Frankenstein, the creature has shed the neck-bolts and picked up some improved syntax. As played by Aaron Eckhart—who previously played monsters of the more human sort in films like In the Company of Men and The Dark Knight—Frank is closer to the author’s original vision of a well-spoken, emotionally vulnerable being experiencing a major existential crisis. Although I don’t believe Shelley ever had her creation using his advanced skills in Kali stick-fighting to participate in a centuries-old war between evil demons and sentinel gargoyles, but I admit I haven’t read the novel since high school.
“The gargoyles have a society and they’re in perpetual war with the demons, who obviously are trying to take over the world,” says Eckhart. “They need Frankenstein. Frankenstein happens to be alive and animated without having a soul at the same time, and that’s what they desire.” As you can see in this exclusive image from the film, the actor sports some pretty nifty scarification in the role. “There’s no bolts in this film,” he says. “But we do get the sense that he’s made up of about six corpses.”
I, Frankenstein doesn’t hit theaters until Jan. 24, but Lionsgate promises to show footage from the film at Comic-Con this week.