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An Interview with Kevin Grevioux

Kevin Grevioux, an accomplished comic writer and co-creator of the Underworld series, co-starred in I, Frankenstein, as well as being credited with the screen story, recently took some time to share his insight with INFLUX Magazine.

 

INFLUX Magazine: How did this story come into existence?

KEVIN GREVIOUX:  Basically, I was looking for a way to bring another monster to life, and kind of turn the concept on its ear like I did with Underworld.  Frankenstein provided the perfect character because he was someone we could all identify with; he was an abandoned child, who was unloved by his father.  When he acted out, he became an object of hate and scorn, but that was never his fault.  He didn’t ask to be here.  So, basically, what he had to deal with is his identity.  Ontologically speaking – is he man, is he monster, or is he both?  I think that’s something that a lot of us struggle with sometimes – who we are.  And, do we fall prey to people’s perceptions of us, or do we take responsibility for who we are and dictate to others who we know us to be?  That was the appeal of the character to me.

INFLUX Magazine: How did this story develop into what we see on the screen?

KG:  I think it evolved naturally, but my thing is taking monsters and turning them on their ear.  To me, after Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein, there was another story there.  I wanted to know what happened.   So, my job was to come up with a story that I wanted to see.  What happened to Frankenstein and where is he now in the modern world?  I came to Lakeshore with it in 2007 and they really didn’t understand what I wanted to do with it.  A lot of producers are like that.  So, I wrote the screenplay and was able to show them what it would look like with comic book pages to illustrate the world.  Other people were looking at it too, but Lakeshore was the first to step up to the plate and buy the screenplay.

What I’ve learned as a creator, and after Underworld was to never, ever again create a naked screenplay.  You always create by piece of work.  By piece of work helps to illustrate the world that you’re creating and it gets people to understand where you are, where you want to go, and how cool it will be.  That’s why I did it that way.  It gives me more control over the pure creation no matter what kind of incarnation might it occur.  As often happens in Hollywood, you’ll have writers that create, but then you’ll have another writer who comes in and makes changes, and then the director makes their changes.  So, I wanted to make sure that I had this pure essence of what my original  vision was.  And that’s where the graphic novel comes in – to maintain that regardless of how I have to change the screenplay once the producers get ahold of it.  When it comes down to it, creating a movie is a fantastic collaborative process and I think we really came up with a winner this time.

INFLUX Magazine: How did you balance expectations of both Mary Shelley and Sci-Fi fans?

KG:  I think it’s the curiosity of what you’ve done with this classic that is going to draw everyone to the film.  I mean, of course you have your genre people who know what I do, they know what Stuart has done, they know the kinds of films that Aaron has done, and they know the kinds of work that Yvonne has done.  They know what all these people have done separately, but when they come together, that could be something special.  Then, you have your purists, who like Mary Shelley’s version.  Well, you know what?  We wanted to take that story and finish it.  We wanted to see what happened after that.  That’s where the fun starts.

INFLUX Magazine: Is it difficult to go from comics to film?

KG:  (laughs) Yes, it is.  But, you know, there’s really nothing you can do about that.  It’s one of these things where that’s their job.  As a writer, once you hand in your script, that’s it.  Now it’s up to other people to do their jobs.  And, hopefully, they see what it is that you want to do.  When it comes down to it, it’s your blueprint.  When you walk on that set, you realize that they wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.  There is some satisfaction in that.  You just hope that they don’t change things so much that it’s unrecognizable and they miss the point of the story.  I remember Stuart telling me that when he heard about I, Frankenstein in the trades, back in, I believe, 2010, he told me, “I wish I had thought of that.”  It’s a great coup that he was able to come on board 18 months later and really take a crack at the material, and I think he did an excellent job.

INFLUX Magazine: Tell us about acting in a movie as well as being involved in the writing process.

KG:  Really what it is, is to be more included in the creative process by taking a role in the film.  I think what that does is increase your visibility, number one, but it also gives you a chance to experience your own creation in a way that’s different from just watching it.  When you’re actually on set, you’re more of a part of it and you’re guiding it.

INFLUX Magazine: How do you separate the character you wrote from the director's vision?

KG:  I think it’s hard to separate.  I mean you do separate it because I’m not going to do anything that goes against what Stuart is doing unless he asks my opinion on something.  But, once I hand in my script and I start acting, I just do my thing as an actor now to bring that character to life.

INFLUX Magazine: Is there a future for the character of Adam?

KG:  Oh, yeah.  Both in comics and in film.  I have a lot of stories to tell with the character.

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