“Man Is Not Truly One, But Truly Two”: Jekyll And Hyde Comes To ITV
“He put the glass to his lips, and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I thought, a change—he seemed to swell—his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt and alter…”
We’ve seen it countless time in comic books, on our televisions, in Halloween costumes and, of course, on the big silver screen: the famous transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. This description of the ghastly contortions has lent itself to many interpretations from The Who’s catchy song to screwball comedy series The Nutty Professor (1963, 1996, 2008).
The original novella, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, was published in 1886 and made the Scottish author incredibly popular. The first film adaptation of the story was just over 20 years later in 1908 although no copies of this film are still in existence. Since then, over 120 film adaptations alone have been made, not including stage and radio versions.
1931 saw one of the most successful adaptations of the story with Frederic March playing the eponymous characters. He was highly praised for his performance and even won the Best Actor Academy Award in 1932. The film was commended for its horror elements and strong performances by its cast. Watch March’s transformation from man to monster in the video below – who needs CGI eh?
Julia Roberts starred in Mary Reilly – a 1996 film adaptation with a twist. Roberts plays a servant in Dr. Jekyll’s household and develops an intimate friendship with him. When he announces a new assistant, “Mr. Hyde”, will be working for him Mary is seemingly the only person who is not afraid of him. The film tells the story of her relationship with both men and her discovery of Jekyll’s dark secret.
Another famous recreation in recent history is Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s creation of Marvel Comics character, the Hulk. Lee stated that the character was inspired by a combination of the stories of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Although a departure from Stevenson’s original story, the Hulk and his many depictions have brought the essence of the Victorian story to life for many younger generations.
Airing tonight (25.10.2015) is ITV’s brand new take on the classic story. Acclaimed author Charlie Higson, famous for his Young James Bond series, has re-imagined the story into a 10-part series. Tom Bateman takes on the role of Robert Jekyll – grandson of Edward Hyde – who battles a mysterious condition with medication. After saving a distressed woman with a spontaneous bout of superhuman strength, Jekyll starts getting noticed.
Directed by Colin Teague (Being Human, Sinbad) and including stars like Richard E Grant and Natalie Gumede, the series promises to be dramatic and dark with monstrous appearances from zombies, werewolves and vampires.
Take a sneak peek at the first episode here:
Jekyll & Hyde airs tonight (25.10.2015) on ITV 1 at 6.30pm.