One of Fango’s most anticipated upcoming releases is Doctor Jekyll, Joe Stephenson’s re-imagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, with a script by Dan Kelly-Mulhern. As reported earlier, Eddie Izzard (Hannibal, Velvet Goldmine) has been tapped to play the reclusive Nina Jekyll who, as per the film’s synopsis, “finds friendship with her newly hired help Rob (Scott Chambers). They must work together to prevent Hyde from destroying her life.”
Details on the project have been scant, but today director Stephenson shares with FANGORIA the first image of Izzard on set, and confirms that her character Nina Jekyll is a trans woman in the film's narrative, lest anyone think we’re in for another helping of the gender-bending tomfoolery of past reimaginings like Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde.
“There’ve been over 100 cinematic adaptations of Stevenson’s novella, but there has never been a trans Dr. Jekyll,” says Stephenson. “There seem to be some assumptions that because Nina is a trans character, we are somehow going to make it about gender. That is not the case; the themes of our film are true to the original work.”
As to why his film is avoiding that perhaps more obvious route, Stephenson explains, “I feel like certain demographics need help seeing past people’s gender identity. Nina Jekyll’s trans-ness isn’t everything she is, at all!” Fair enough!
As to what kind of film we should expect, Stephenson teases that “the film’s tone is a (hopefully) surprising mix of dark humor and suspense that spirals into horror. Even in its darkest moments we give a wink to films of a certain era, and flashes of camp within a dark twisted fairytale combine to make a tone I don’t see much of anymore… and wish I did!” Well, color us intrigued!
No release date is set for Stephenson’s film yet; stay tuned for more news on Doctor Jekyll as it breaks.