Lisa Frankenstein director Zelda Williams says that her enthusiasm for the film was rooted in her deep admiration for Diablo Cody’s singular voice as a screenwriter, especially when it comes to the characters in her stories.
“The thing I enjoy most about her writing is the personality infused into all of it,” says Williams, who had auditioned for Juno (also written by Cody, for which she won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award) very early in her acting career. “It’s clear immediately who these characters are, whether they’re for you or not. That sort of strong flavor choice will always be my cup of tea.”
In Lisa Frankenstein, it’s 1989 and Lisa Swallows (Kathryn Newton), an awkward 17-year-old, is trying to adjust to a new school and a new life after her mother’s death and her father’s hasty remarriage. Despite the unwavering support offered by her plucky cheerleader step sister Taffy (Liza Soberano), Lisa only finds solace in the abandoned cemetery near her house, where she tends to the grave of a young man who died in 1837 – and whose corpse she unwittingly reanimates (Cole Sprouse). Feeling obligated to help the poor soul regain his humanity, Lisa embarks on a quest to breathe new life into her long-dead new companion. All she needs to succeed are some freshly harvested body parts and Taffy’s broken tanning bed.
Get to know the movie’s characters who will make you laugh, scream and fall in love this special month of love!
Lisa Swallows (played by Kathryn Newton)
Lisa is a 17-year-old misfit, too self-conscious and withdrawn to fit in with either the popular crowd or even the other outsiders at school, the punks, Goths, and stoners. In the wake of her mother’s murder, she barely speaks. “Lisa Swallows is this girl who isn’t heard, who doesn’t speak up,” Newton says. “She doesn’t think she matters very much. She’s been through a lot of trauma, and she is so hurt and shy she would rather not bring any attention to herself.”
The Creature (Cole Sprouse)
The Creature is the corpse that Lisa unintentionally brings back to life. A professional pianist who took his own life after being rejected by a woman he adored, the Creature was a hopeless romantic, a gentleman well versed in 19th century manners and etiquette, qualities he retains in death, or rather, undeath. He feels immense gratitude toward Lisa that soon blossoms into genuine adoration. “Over time, I think the Creature realizes he’s deeply in love with Lisa,” Sprouse says. “He wants to be her protector, trying to make her feel heard and understood.”
Taffy (Liza Soberano)
Taffy is the kind, if somewhat clueless, stepsister of Lisa. Empathetic, earnest and wildly popular, naturally perfect Taffy is the antithesis of the stereotypical “mean girl” – she welcomes Lisa into her family with open arms and does everything she can to help her fit in. “Taffy is my favorite character,” says Cody.
Janet (Carla Gugino)
Janet is Taffy’s narcissistic mom who dotes on her own daughter, but is endlessly disapproving of Lisa. “Janet lives in Janet’s world for sure – she is definitely the hero of her own story,” says Gugino. “Janet has created and curated a perfect world and a perfect family in her mind, and she cannot imagine how Lisa would not want to be a part of it.”
Dale (Joe Chrest)
Lisa’s own father, Dale, does little to intervene on his child’s behalf, leaving Janet to exert her domineering influence at every turn. “Dale is such a checked-out dad,” producer Mason Novick says. “Diablo writes a lot of dad characters who are just oblivious to what’s going on. I don’t want to say men in Diablo’s scripts are knuckleheads, but the focus of the conversations are on women. The father is around, and he’s really funny, but he’s not the one moving the story forward. He is very much the passive husband.”
Michael Trent (Henry Eikenberry)
Michael is Lisa’s crush whom she describes as an “intellectual punk dreamboat.” Although he initially seems to display an odd kind of fascination with Lisa, he doesn’t necessarily harbor romantic feelings toward her. “He’s so clueless,” says Eikenberry of his character.
Get ready for the funniest, goriest undead horror romance you’ll see all year when “Lisa Frankenstein,” directed by Zelda Williams (daughter of the late Robin Williams and herself part-Filipina) and distributed by Universal Pictures International, opens in cinemas February 7, just in time for Valentine’s Day! #LisaFrankensteinPH
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