“I’m a total monster geek,” award-winning playwright turned go-to James Bond scriptwriter John Logan said when asked how he wound up writing and exec producing Showtime’s psychosexual horror series Penny Dreadful. The pay cable network has ordered eight episodes of the series that features some of literature’s most iconic monsters, including Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dorian Gray. Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Rory Kinnear, Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney and Billie Piper star.
Reading a lot of Wordsworth led him to re-read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, he explained, adding, “I started thinking about why, almost 200 years later, we’re still reading ‘Frankenstein‘ and I think it’s because the monster breaks my heart. Growing up as a gay man before that was as socially acceptable as it is now, I knew what it was like not to feel socially acceptable, but the same thing that made me monstrous to some people made me who I was.” Re-visting Frankenstein, he said, “I wept reading about the pathos and suffering of the poor, vengeful, monstrous creature.“
He set Penny Dreadful in 1891 England because it was “a highly specialized era “that reminds me of right now.”
“They were on the cusp of a New World,” he said, noting the move from an agrarian to an industrial society grappling with Darwinism and evolution. “I sit down at the computer today and I don’t understand any of the new world zooming toward us,” he said. We’re on the cusp of the same thing now,” he said, calling it “frightening” and “exciting.”
Asked about the graphic sex in the trailer, Logan insisted a discussion of what makes us human needs to include a look at “how we respond erotically to the world around us.” But, he promised the series “moves back to the sacred essentially texts” from which he plucked characters. Check out the teaser: