Exclusive photos, plus actor/director comments: “VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN’s” first creatureHome,Movies/TV,News Michael Gingold
Before VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN’s eponymous scientist builds his monster of a man, he creates a human/animal hybrid dubbed “Gordon.” Read on for exclusive images of the beast, plus words from the film’s director and stars on this creation.
In VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN, opening this Wednesday, November 25 from 20th Century Fox, the questing doctor (James McAvoy) introduces his assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) to Gordon, a hybrid made up of parts from assorted different animals. Paul McGuigan, who helmed the film from a script by Max Landis, notes, “With Gordon, I got to be Frankenstein for a minute, figuring him out. He was just called Gordon in the script, and I was like, ‘What is Gordon?’ So I visited the London Zoo and went, ‘I want a bit of that, a little bit of this…’ I took that back to the amazing animatronic people, because we wanted the film to have as much [effects done] in the camera as possible.”
Radcliffe recalls of working with the physical Gordon, “We spent so much time around him that we got a little desensitized. You know how you hear about people who work with the Muppets, and [they say that] you don’t talk to the animators, you talk to the Muppets themselves? It was sort of similar with Gordon for me. Like, I would go up to him and do something to him, and then the guys operating him would see what I was doing, and they’d make him respond—at which point I would completely forget that there were three guys in a box operating him, and I would just start interacting with him. It was one of my favorite animatronic creature effects I’ve ever seen. And then Talia [Craig] also played Gordon; she was a stuntgirl who was in a little grey suit, who I got to do a lot of my fighting with.”
Craig’s motion-capture action was a key component of Gordon’s “performance,” but only a portion of it, McGuigan notes. “Obviously, when Gordon starts running, that’s when it becomes the CG version,” he says. “But up to that point, it’s all animatronic and old-school, which I like, and I tried to do that a lot in the film. Also, these guys [McAvoy and Radcliffe] were doing their own stunts as well. Daniel was hanging off of a staircase with the stuntgirl attached to him, and James did all his own stuff as well. So it was interesting, because Gordon became a kind of metaphor for the film: He was there standing in front of you, and he was made from different parts of animals. He was part-hyena, part-monkey, with a dog’s leg somewhere in there.”
McAvoy adds that the scene in which he, as Victor, first sparks the beast to life inspired him to throw in a shout-out to a favorite fantasy film. “You know the film FLASH GORDON?” he asks. “Brian Blessed, for me, has an iconic part in that when he goes, “Gordon’s alive? Gordon’s alive?” I thought I’d get to do that in this film, and I think I did do it, but it got cut. But that was my homage to Brian Blessed.”