Franken-Boyfriend is a 2000 American teen zombie comedy directed by Tim Burton and written by James Gunn making this film his first Hollywood screenplay before 2002's Scooby Doo.
The films stars Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Cary Elwes, Elizabeth Perkins, Marla Sokoloff, Monica Keena, Brendan Fehr, Lee Evans, Katharine Isabelle, John Travolta, Jacob Smith, Jodi Lynn O'Keefe, Adam Hann Byrd and Jeff Daniels.
The film deals with a suburban teen girl grieving from the death of her beloved boyfriend who is killed in a freak accident and decides to resurrect him with some help from her friends using electricity. This spirals into a series of strange, hilarious but frightening adventures to keep the resurrected boy a secret at any cost until her parents and the community get involved.
The film was distributed by Miramax and was released on June 16th, 2000. The film received positive reviews from critics and audiences who praise the grisly special effects, performances, tongue-in-cheek humor and parodies of old 50's creature features. The film became a cult classic after gaining success on home video and dvd.
- Linda Cardellini as Lisa Franklin
- James Franco as Sam Merrick
- Cary Elwes as Dan Franklin
- Elizabeth Perkins as Helen Franklin
- Jacob Smith as Cody Franklin
- Marla Sokoloff as Sissy Walker
- Monica Keena as Jessica Stewart
- Jeff Daniels as Keith Merrick
- Adam Hann Byrd as Clyde Lewis
- Katharine Isabelle as Bethany Benz
- Jodi Lynn O'Keefe as Andie Benz
- Lee Evans as Deputy Corky Liverwurst
- Brendan Fehr as Drew Ross
- John Travolta as Mayor James Harris
- A handfull of directors were considered to direct this film including Sam Raimi, Wes Craven, Danny Boyle and Gore Verbinski who previously worked with Lee Evans on the 1997 black comedy Mousehunt.
- Tobey Maguire, Matthew Lawrence, Heath Ledger and Freddie Prinze Jr. were considered for the role of Sam Merrick.
- Leslie Mann, Sandra Bullock and Embeth Davidtz were strong contenders for the role of Helen Franklin.
- Tim Burton signed onto the project after favorably comparing it to his 1984 short film Frankenweenie. He said in an interview,"Franken-Boyfriend is a teen variation of Frankenstein with elements of 50's creature features like The Amazing Colossal Man mixed in with Kevin Williamson styled angst. I couldn't put down the script and it even reminded me of my short film Frankenweenie but with an R rated spin. The script was hilarious, gross, crude and above all unpredictable."
- Josh Brolin was approached to play Dan Franklin but he turned the role down due to scheduling conflicts with the 2000 science fiction horror thriller, Hollow Man.
- Jamie Babbit was originally going to direct the film but was fired due to creative differences and her work on the controversial comedy, But I'm A Cheerleader.
- Kirsten Dunst, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rachael Leigh Cook and Brittany Murphy were considered for the role of Lisa Franklin but Gellar was pulled out of consideration due to scheduling conflicts with Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
- Jacob Smith signed onto the film when he found out that his Party Of Five co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt was considered for the lead role but was heartbroken when she turned down the role to pursue other projects but still remained on the project after reading the script against James Gunn's wishes not to due to the film's content.
- Katharine Isabelle and Jodi Lynn O'Keefe became good friends during the making of this film.
- Linda Cardellini didn't want to be in another horror film due to her experience on making the 1998 slasher film Strangeland but she changed her mind after reading the script describing it as charming, unsettling and funny.
- Josh Hartnett, Ryan Phillippe, Eric Mabius, Joshua Jackson, Ethan Embry and Nick Stabile have all auditioned for the role of Sam Merrick before James Franco secured the role.
- Jerry O'Connell and Ryan Reynolds auditioned for the roles of Sam Merrick and Drew Ross.
- Jessica Alba and Jordan Ladd auditioned for the roles of the Benz sisters, Bethany and Andie. Ironically, they played mean girls Gibby Zerefski and Kirsten Liosis in the 1999 comedy, Never Been Kissed
- Filming took place in Napa, California from May 1999 to July 1999.
- When filming wrapped in July, Franken-Boyfriend was faced with censorship issues from the MPAA regarding the film's graphic content. The sex scene between Lisa and a recently revived Sam was slightly trimmed and the full frontal shot of Mayor Harris as he burst out of his clothing due to Sissy's mira-growth serum was heavily trimmed to avoid an NC-17 rating. Franken-Boyfriend is rated R for strong bloody zombie violence and gore, some sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and pervasive language
- Franken-Boyfriend premiered at The 1999 Toronto International Film Festival on September 14th, 1999 as a part of the Midnight Madness program.
- Franken-Boyfriend received very favorable reviews from critics and audiences alike calling it the most well made and well earned addition to the body horror genre. The film has 82% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus stating, "With grisly gore effects, pitch black humor and a tight knit cast stitched together in an affectionate monster movie homage to the 50's, Franken-Boyfriend will please horror buffs that love gore, action and romance all rolled into one satisfying horror comedy of the late 90's."
- Since it's release, Franken-Boyfriend gained a reputation of being a cult favorite to body horror fanatics and the film sold very well on video and dvd as a result.
- Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Anna Paquin and Amanda Detmer auditioned for the role of Lisa Franklin.