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Surely you know the classic story of Dr. Frankenstein and his creature. But, are you familiar with their creator, author Mary Shelley?

Mary will be portrayed by Elle Fanning in a new biopic named after the 19th century English writer, simply called Mary Shelley.

In the new film, we meet Mary as a teenager. With a famous philosopher father, played by Stephen Dillane, the writer-to-be is determined to make her own name. Before she even gets started, though, she meets a young poet (Douglas Booth), and the two begin a love affair, which brings passion into her life… as well as tragedy.

The film maps out the transformation of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin into Mary Shelley:

For Mary, the darkness she wrote about wasn’t complete fiction, pulling from the unfairness she saw in daily life. In the trailer, she says to her betraying lover, “Don’t you recognize Victor Frankenstein?” when laying down her manuscript in front of him.

To make matters worse, she is betrayed once again, when turning in her work. The publisher accuses her of stealing the material from a male writer, with Mary being told, “Curious subject matter for a young lady?” But, clearly, she did get her name on the novel, rightfully so, as we know who the real writer is 200 years later.

It doesn’t sound like it was an easy path for Mary, but if it weren’t for the hurdles — loss, betrayal, death — we may not have the story of Frankenstein: “If I had not learned to fight through the anguish, I would not have found this voice,” says Mary.

We can look for other familiar faces, including Maisie Williams (Doctor Who), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and Joanne Froggat (Downton Abbey).

The film Mary Shelley will hit theaters on May 25.

Do you think the themes seen in this period drama can translate to modern day? 

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By Brigid Brown