We Can All Live Stream Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Frankenstein’

Published on April 23, 2020

Almost a decade ago, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) did an ambitious stage production of Mary Shelley’s iconic story, “Frankenstin.” In Boyle’s vision, actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller both played the roles of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. On different nights, they’d play different parts. Now, we’ll finally get a chance to watch them in both roles online. 

Show Details

Filmed at The Royal National Theatre in London, Fathom Events used to do showings of the stage production at select theaters across the United States. If you didn’t see the show in London, Fathom Events was the only option available. It’s not widely available for consumers and theater fans, sadly, but now Boyle’s production for the first time will be widely available to the public. The Royal National Theater will stream both versions of the show on April 30th and May 1st on their youtube page. Don’t miss it.


The show was extremely successful and popular among critics and theater goers. Unfortunately, the theater is a rather expensive and luxurious experience hard to afford, especially in London. Thankfully, fans of the story, Boyle’s work, and the two actors can now get their chance to watch it (and for free!).

Here’s an trailer teasing Boyle’s vision: 

What Else to Know 

Boyle wanted both actors to play both roles, not as a marketing tool. Instead it was to hit home the idea that the monster and his creator are one of the same. Now, it’s an effective marketing tool as well. Who doesn’t want to see both of those fantastic actors swap such juicy roles? As Boyle explained to The Guardian, he wanted to bring actors as close as possible to one another: 

“Frankenstein is creating life without women. The idea is to bring two actors as close to that notion as possible. And how do you do that? In terms of the performance, Frankenstein and the Creature literally create each other: every other night they reinhabit each other.”

Boyle has previously directed Miller twice on in both Trainspotting films. The first film is a bonafide classic, while the sequel is a more emotional continuation of the story that we’ll have to wait and see how it stands the test of time. Both are unique visions from the imaginative mind of Boyle, though, whose vision for Frankenstein we can’t wait to stream. 

Like Boyle’s idol, filmmaker Nicolas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth), he’s just a master of mood and energy. He knows how to create and provoke such strong feelings in his fluid stream of images, which is why he was the perfect director for the gothic tale Frankenstein. 


Filmed live in 2011 from the stage of the National Theatre in London, this thrilling, sold-out production became an international sensation, experienced by more than 800,000 people in cinemas around the world.

Directed by Academy Award®-winner Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), this production of Frankenstein sees Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, Hamlet, Sherlock) and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary, Trainspotting) alternating between the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation.

Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the increasingly desperate and vengeful Creature determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.

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Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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