How Doctor Who And Sherlock Inspired Victor Frankenstein

There’s a glorious Britishness to Victor Frankenstein. Sure, it might have struck me more powerfully than most as I am an Expat currently holed up across the pond that longs daily for proper bacon, cups of tea, and the demolishment of the word "soccer." But it’s definitely there. In fact, Victor Frankenstein director Paul McGuigan has admitted that two of the country’s greatest exports -- Doctor Who and Sherlock -- both hugely influenced and inspired his film, while James McAvoy even teased that this was his Doctor Who audition tape.

I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Paul McGuigan earlier this month to talk about Victor Frankenstein in New York. I decided to mention the similarities I’d noticed between Victor Frankenstein and the two British shows. And since Paul McGuigan has directed four episodes of the Benedict Cumberbatch=led Sherlock, he was very pleased I spotted them, and he admitted that there were parallels between the shows and film. Especially in just how flawed and "sociopathic" each of the lead characters are:

I had done the Sherlock TV show. I liked [Victor Frankenstein] being based on these two guys [like Sherlock] …. You should push people. In our industry, a lot of people are scared to have characters that are sociopathic, that aren’t very likable. So it’s always pushing against that. But in the UK, we like our characters to be flawed, like Doctor Who or like Sherlock. We embrace that, because we are a bit like that ourselves. And to Fox’s great credit, they were pushing me to make it much more like that, like Sherlock.

Just like Gallifrey’s most famous son and the iconic inhabitant of 221B Baker Street, Victor Frankenstein is hell-bent on discovery. So much so that he’s even willing to put himself, and anyone close to him, in grave danger. And when portrayed by James McAvoy there’s a glorious charisma to Victor that means you immediately want to join him on any/all of his adventures.

Just after talking to Paul McGuigan, I also got the chance to sit and chat with both James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. And after I quizzed McAvoy on the similarities between Victor Frankenstein and Doctor Who he was immediately struck by them, too. In fact, he even suggested that this was his audition tape for, arguably, the most coveted role in British television. You can watch his response now:

Now that James McAvoy’s mentioned it, the pairing of Doctor Who and the Scot is something that needs to happen immediately. It’s just too perfect a concoction to miss out on. Obviously, only once Peter Capaldi’s tenure in the TARDIS has come to an end, though.

You can see if James McAvoy is Doctor Who-worthy when Victor Frankenstein is released on November 25. Hopefully the sight of all the discarded body parts won’t put you off your Thanksgiving dinner.

Gregory Wakeman