One of the major Irish co-productions due out in 2017 is Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley, a biopic of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, co-produced by Parallel Films (Brooklyn).
Teenager Mary dreams of writing but has yet to find inspiration. When she meets poet Percy Shelley, it is love at first sight. But Percy has his secrets, he is married with a child. Setting up home together, Mary soon becomes pregnant with Percy’s child, a daughter who tragically dies. Ostracised by polite society and grieving for their child, they escape from London and Percy introduces Mary to Lord Byron at his house in Lake Geneva. On a stormy night, Byron suggests they all write a ghost story. Mary gives birth to Frankenstein’s Monster. It is brilliant, but women don’t write books, and publishers won’t print them. And so Mary fights for her creature and her identity, all at the age of eighteen.
The film stars Elle Fanning as Mary and Douglas Booth as Percy, alongside Maisie Williams, Bel Powley, Joanne Froggatt and Tom Sturridge, and Stephen Dillane. Al-Mansour directs from a script co-written with Emma Jensen and Conor McPherson. Alan Moloney and Ruth Coady produce for Parallel Films, with Amy Baer of Gidden Media. DoP is David Ungaro, Production Design comes from the legendary Paki Smith, and Room’s Nathan Nugent edits with Alex Mackie.
Funding for Mary Shelley came from the Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (FÉ/SI) is the national development agency for Irish filmmaking and the Irish film, television and animation industry., the BFI, Hanway Films, the Luxembourg Film Fund, Ingenious Media, and Sobini Films. Hanway Films are currently representing the film at the European Film Market in Berlin.
Title image via THR.