Coming from London's National Theatre: "Frankenstein" starring Benedict Cumberbatch/Jonny Lee Miller

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by Mikeguy, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    This is way exciting, and was highly acclaimed: Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in London's 2011 National Theatre stage production of "Frankenstein."

    Streaming for free April 30-May 8. With the kicker that, 2 versions are available for watching, with the 2 principal actors switching between the roles of The Creature and Victor Frankenstein.

    NT at Home: Frankenstein | National Theatre streaming on YouTube and NT Collection

    And to be followed, the following week, with the National Theatre's production of "Antony and Cleopatra," starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo (along with a meter-long snake).

    Danny Boyle's Frankenstein reanimated for National Theatre streaming service

    For the parents out there: how's this for some homeschooling for the kids?
     
  2. Hcour

    Hcour Well-Known Member

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    Totally cool. Cumberbatch not only has the best name in show bidness, he's a great actor. Thanks for the heads up.
     
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  3. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    With his fans affectionately calling themselves "Cumberb*tches." :)
     
  4. pdhenry

    pdhenry Recumbent

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    Makes me wonder whether Johnny Lee Miller is actually the better Monster. Otherwise, why include both versions?
     
  5. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    For the viewers/audience, what great fun to be able to watch the performances with switched roles, seeing somewhat differing interpretations and nuances and from actors at the top of their games.

    For the actors, it no doubt was a creative challenge, and something different to do. Also, and I don't mean this pejoratively, but it's a bit of marketing stunt-casting, to garner attention. And perhaps there was a financial angle there as well, as some people would come back to the play a second time, to see it with the switched roles.

    It certainly has been done before--most recently on this side of the ocean, with Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon alternating roles in Lillian Hellman’s "The Little Foxes" on Broadway 3 years ago.

    As a performer, I would imagine that it would be great fun to do, as well as illuminating.
     
  6. HarleyRandom

    HarleyRandom Well-Known Member

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    No one seems to have noticed they both played Sherlock Holmes.
     
  7. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Just a reminder.

    Benedict Cumberbatch as The Creature is now available. Jonny Lee Miller as The Creature starts tomorrow.
     
  8. madscientist

    madscientist Deregistered Snoozer

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    I may wait for tomorrow. Somehow Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and Miller as The Creature just seems ... more right.

    I'm definitely down for this show though... how can you not be?!?!
     
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  9. May 1, 2020 #9 of 20
    madscientist

    madscientist Deregistered Snoozer

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    OK I broke down and watched yesterday's version. I see now why they switch roles (at least my suspicion): one of the roles is much more significant and difficult than the other (this isn't a spoiler thread so I'll not be specific). It would probably be hard to convince actors of that caliber to play the smaller role only. By switching not only do they each get to play the more involved role but they get a break :)

    The set and costuming was, as to be expected, quite amazing and both Miller and Cumberbatch were fantastic. I may watch the other one as well just to see what the other actor brings to each role.

    My one complaint, and it's unfortunately a major complaint (not a plot spoiler really):
    they clipped a violent scene. It was quite jarring (to me) and took a lot away from the production. I suppose that they wanted this to be more widely accessible but I really, really wish they had provided both versions so we could choose which we wanted to watch.
     
  10. ThePennyDropped

    ThePennyDropped Now I get it.

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    I was trying to decide which to watch, so I checked online and found an older article about the play (in the LA Times, iirc) recommending seeing the version with Miller as the monster. FWIW, that's how I decided.
     
  11. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Or, just watch both--one of the joys of this/these production(s). :)
     
  12. Hcour

    Hcour Well-Known Member

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    Could you, or anyone, say which is the larger role and spoilerize it? Thanks.
     
  13. madscientist

    madscientist Deregistered Snoozer

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    The larger, more complex role is
    the monster
     
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  14. David Platt

    David Platt Mouse Master TCF Club

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    Could you spoilerize the scene you're talking about for me? I have a feeling I know what it is based on the original story and past productions, but want to see if I'm right.
     
  15. madscientist

    madscientist Deregistered Snoozer

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    Sure:
    The jump-cut when the monster attacks and kills Elizabeth. It's not that I want to see violence it's just that I think it robs the ending of the play of a lot of its emotional weight.
     
  16. David Platt

    David Platt Mouse Master TCF Club

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    Thanks! That's what I thought it was. That was a pretty jarring cut.
     
  17. TonyTheTiger

    TonyTheTiger Pro Troll Magnet

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    Watched the BC Monster and then skimmed the JLM version. Both were awesome with great performances, but...

    I think Benedict has slightly better acting chops!

    IMO, of course!
     
  18. madscientist

    madscientist Deregistered Snoozer

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    My son wanted to watch this so I watched the JLM Monster version all the way through with him. Part of my reaction may have been due to watching the same thing twice within a few days, but (no plot spoilers):
    I agree with Tony, I preferred the BC Monster version (this is the one I saw first so keep that in mind). I think part of it is that the Frankenstein character is just not great. I didn't think either actor really was able to do too much with the role and since both of them are great actors, I feel like it may be the fault of the play and not the actor. So to me, it was all about the monster.

    BC I think had a more consistent arc to his Monster. Again could be due to watching it twice but BC's monster seemed to make constant progress while I felt that JLM's monster sometimes jumped forward and then regressed. And, JLM's monster seemed to end up more agile and articulate, while BC's monster always seemed to have problems speaking and walking... to me that added to the tragedy because he obviously could think at a high level.

    I did notice that the BC monster version was a few minutes longer than the JLM version and I'm pretty sure the entire difference was found in the initial coming-to-life scene: BC seemed a lot more committed to his floor-flopping than JLM! :D
     
  19. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Interesting in the Creature comparisons. For me,
    I preferred the Jonny Lee Miller Creature: he seemed more gutteral/physical/primal, as vs. Cumberbatch's more intellectual-seeming Creature (by the end, he almost seemed like a proper British gentleman). Also, having seen Cumberbatch perform before, I already knew that he can act and carry a role--as I've never seen much of Miller previously, I was suitably impressed by his performances, and would enjoy seeing him in other roles.
     
  20. Hcour

    Hcour Well-Known Member

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    "A Streetcar Named Desire" is currently available, with Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster, and Vanessa Kirby. That's a helluva cast in one of the greatest plays of the American theater.

    BTW, these can be downloaded. I use a free program called ClipGrab. Nice to have these in my media library to watch whenever I choose.
     
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