Ahead of the American Film Market, IFC has acquired Mary Shelley as reported by Deadline. Starring Elle Fanning (Neon Demon, The Beguiled) as an eighteen year old Mary Shelley in the early days of her writing career, leading up to publication of Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. The British-set period piece that held it’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival is directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda) with a script from Emma Jensen.
Passionate and rebellious teenager Mary Wollstonecraft finds a kindred spirit in poet Percy Shelley. Their whirlwind love affair scandalizes polite society, as the young couple gorges on literature and a bohemian life. When tragedy strikes and they lose their baby daughter, Mary finds the courage and bravery to transform her pain into the world’s first science fiction novel, Frankenstein – all by the age of 18.
As avid readers may already know Frankenstein as it is know came from a friendly contest to write the best ghost story, of which Mary Shelley was the clear winner. Holed up with Lord Byron and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, she was encouraged to expand on what would arguably become the first science fiction story. While there have been many adaptations and re-imaginings to Mary Shelley’s story, there has seldom been any focus put on the life of the woman that crafted those famous words over 200 years ago.
Her original ghost story:
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.
Mary Shelley also stars Douglas Booth (Loving Vincent), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Tom Sturridge (Far from the Madding Crowd) and Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse).