Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Bigger Than Monster; Mary's Own Tale Is Told 200 Years after She Wrote Frankenstein

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Bigger Than Monster; Mary's Own Tale Is Told 200 Years after She Wrote Frankenstein

Article excerpt

Byline: WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN

A rainy, dreary winter's day seems like the perfect time to talk about Frankenstein's monster. Mary Shelley's monster is still firmly embedded in the cultural zeitgeist two centuries after her Gothic novel was published.

He has taken on many forms over the years, the most popular being the green giant with bolts sticking out of his neck.

But few know the real-life circumstances that inspired him, until now.

Australian screenwriter Emma Jensen is the creative mind behind the period biopic Mary Shelley that depicts the love affair between poet Percy Bysse Shelley and 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin that resulted in Mary writing Frankenstein.

"I read it in high school as part of our Grade 12 curriculum, but at the time you don't fully appreciate it," she says.

"A few years later I read about Percy Shelley and the relationship with Mary - the divide between the artist and the man - and that was fascinating to me. A few years later I re-read Frankenstein and Mary's prologue and really grasped what her life was and the journey it took her to create this groundbreaking work. I thought 'Why has nobody told this story?'

"I was working in film development at the time but I wasn't working in companies where we could tell this story. It was not something I felt I could pursue in that capacity, but when I finally started writing I found still no one's told this story."

Although Jensen has worked in the screen industry for nearly two decades, Mary Shelley is her first screenplay to be picked up for a feature film.

She was delighted when acclaimed Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour came on board to direct the drama.

"It was really gratifying that she had responded to it in that way," she says.

"(Her award-winning feature film debut) Wadjda had not long been released at that point and there were a lot of questions about what Haifaa was going to do next. I could see what in Mary's story she responded to. …

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