Mary Shelley is the name of both the woman behind the story and a new movie about her life that is due out this spring from IFC Films. Elle Fanning stars as Mary, who was a teenager — and apparently a rebellious one — named Mary Wollstonecraft when she first met the poet Percy Shelley and began a passionate love affair.
The movie will focus on their whirlwind romance, which was a scandal at the time since Percy Shelley was already married, the bohemian couple's literary life and financial struggles, Mary's pregnancy and, tragically, the death of their baby daughter — an event which might have provided the spark for her first book, and arguably the world's first science fiction novel, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein was finished when Mary was 21 years old and published anonymously, leading many to think at first that it was the work of Percy Shelley (he did encourage her to write the story and possibly assisted her, but the extent of his contributions has been largely deemed more editorial). Frankenstein turned out to be the first major event in a literary career that was forgotten for years but has now been re-evaluated by scholars, while Mary Shelley herself — who died far too young at 53 — is now considered a groundbreaking feminist, libertine, liberal thinker and writer/editor of high repute.
The story of how Mary created Frankenstein has been filmed before, in the prologue to The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), as well as the movies Gothic (1986), Haunted Summer (1988) and Rowing with the Wind (also 1988). But this latest biopic seems to delve more deeply into Shelley's feminist and independent leanings, as well as the entrenched sexism she came up against in the literary world.
Mary Shelley is directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour and also stars Douglas Booth (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Bel Powley (Wildling), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Tom Sturridge (Far from the Madding Crowd) and Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse). It arrives in theaters May 25 and VOD June 1. Watch the trailer here (via Bloody-Disgusting):