Frankenstein's Adam: Very first of his kind
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 not-quite-human experiences of the world.
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 Smoking.
Eckhart also had the strong physical presence to carry off a creature whose appearance had to be both haunting and intriguing. Says Wright: “Aaron coming on board crystallized what this character should be for us. Aaron 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 brought those qualities.
As soon as he took on the role, 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 Eckhart.
Eckhart took a lot of his inspiration from Mary Shelley’s original depiction of Frankenstein’s creature. Born from a highly unorthodox scientific experiment, 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 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, 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.”
Beattie was impressed with 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.”
Grevioux also felt that Eckhart fulfilled on his original vision of a modern Frankenstein’s creature. “Aaron’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 w
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