A romance movie about a horror novel. Only in Hollywood, right? First released at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9th, Mary Shelley is just such a movie. Per Dateline, the Irish-American co-production is set for wider release thanks to its acquisition by IFC Films.
The film will detail the love story between young Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (eventually Shelley) and married poet Percy Bysse Shelley. Overcoming a nearly 5 year age difference and societal scandal, the two engage in a hedonistic and literary affair that spans Europe. The premature birth and subsequent death of their daughter finally breaks the spell of love for the kindred spirits. Depression soon sets in. But out of the grief comes creativity. Visiting with Lord Byron at his home in Geneva, Mary and her friends engage in a round of ghost stories. This famous fireside chat led to the creation of the world’s first science-fiction novel: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
The film stars Elle Fanning (Super 8, Maleficent) as 18 year old Mary, with Douglas Booth (Great Expectations, Jupiter Ascending) playing Percy Shelley. The cast also features Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones) as Mary’s father and Percy’s idol, William Godwin, and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) as Isabel Baxter. No word on if this Isabel is the same Isabel whom Mary helped hide a lesbian affair.
The film’s production is packed to the gills with female talent. It was written by Emma Jensen as her first feature script, with financial help from Screen NSW and Screen Australia. Director Haifaa al-Mansour (Wadjda) helped guide the film to screen. Amy Baer (Last Vegas) produced the film for Gidden Media, while Ruth Coady (Siege of Jadotville) and Alan Maloney (Albert Nobbs) represented Parallel Films. The film has no set release date.