Mary Shelley: Elle Fanning as the Famous Writer

 Image: Courtesy of TIFF

Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, Mary Shelley shows the young author (Elle Fanning) falling in love with married Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth), thus beginning a life of travel, infidelity and loss.

She wrote the original concept for Frankenstein (at the Geneve home of Lord Byron, played by Tom Sturridge), Mary Shelley (born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) when she was only 18

Playing two of Mary Shelley’s contemporaries are Bel Powley, as Shelley’s half-sister and best friend, Claire Clairmont, and Maisie Williams.

The movie, which first played at the 2017 Toronto Film Fest, is released by IFC on May 25.

To play feminist Mary Shelley (born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin), Fanning looked at her own family members.

“I live with my mom and my grandmother, and I have a sister, and my mom’s sister has a daughter,” Fanning said.  “It’s generations of women who are very fierce and not afraid to speak their minds. I grew up in a household where, if you want your voice to be heard, you have to be louder, and I feel like I’m a stronger woman because of it. Of course, I’m still finding myself. But I’m almost there.”

She certainly learned a lot about Shelley throughout this process. “What fascinated me was that it’s a struggling artist, but it’s a woman struggling artist, which you don’t see very often,” she added. “And when I filmed the movie I was about to turn 18. This was the last movie that I had to do school on the set. It was a milestone movie for me.”