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A New Twist for Dr Jekyll

The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has fascinated audiences for over one hundred years.

Ever since Stevenson published his novella in 1886, we have been drawn to this strange case of a person whose personality is not fixed. We are accustomed to the tale of man or monster or man and monster all in one body. Jekyll and Hyde are now woven into our culture, and even people who have not read the book or seen any adaptation of it understand the phrase's meaning.

The latest movie has another layer of identity added to the storyline. Eddie Izzard takes up the role of Jekyll. In this reimagined version, Jekyll is a female, reclusive doctor. Izzard has famously cross-dressed for years and is well-loved for his stand-up comedy. However, this film role sees their career and identity moving in a new direction. Izzard has spoken previously about gender fluidity and now identifies as a transgender woman. Izzard says she is "very excited to be playing the role of Nina Jekyll in this new feature film, and it's wonderful to be able to reimagine this classic story in a modern way."

Directed Joe Stephenson has praised Izzard saying, "with her being the extraordinary and versatile actress she is, playing against Scott's natural talent to make us believe in the good in people, I can't wait to bring this suspenseful take on the iconic classic to life."

The film depicts Jekyll making friends with her new assistant Rob, played by Scott Chambers, and the pair working together to prevent her from destroying her life. However, in Stevenson's book, Jekyll cannot avoid the darker side of his character emerging resulting in the horrors for which the story is famous.

Stevenson's novella has become one of literature's most frequently adapted works. There have been at least nineteen previous film versions. Most of these films were made in the 20th century. The lead role has been played by Spencer Tracey, Michael Caine, and Kirk Douglas. Very soon after the book's release, it was adapted for the stage. In recent years it has been the inspiration for other forms of entertainment, with the video game The mysterious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde game available on Steam, as well as the Dr Jekyll Goes Wild game available to players trying out the best UK slots online.

The story was a staple of the Hammer House of Horror studios, and they made The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll in 1964 and Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde in 1971. Hammer is also releasing the latest version of the film in the UK, but it is not a continuation of the former franchise.

The latest film is simply titled Doctor Jekyll and is directed and co-produced by Joe Stephenson. The screenplay is by Dan Kelly-Mulhern. The film is a B Good Picture Company production.

This is not Izzard's first foray away from stand-up, and previous acting roles have seen performances in the Hannibal series, Igor, The Avengers, Shadow of the Vampire, and the Tales from the Crypt series. Izzard stars alongside Scott Chambers, Lindsay Duncan, and Simon Callow.

Scott Chambers is better known as a director than an actor. He has directed, written, and produced one hundred and four low-budget British sci-fi and horror films. When not acting, he is known as Scott Jeffrey, and he has had a hand in Exorcist Vengeance, The Curse of Humpty Dumpty, The Mutation, The Final Scream and The Bad Nun.

There is no firm release date yet for Doctor Jekyll, which is currently in post-production. Worldwide sales are being handled by Metro International Entertainment, which is representing the title at the Cannes Festival market.

The project was developed during the pandemic and was shot in the earlier part of 2022.  Joe Stephenson's directing debut came in 2015 with the film Chicken, which played on a festival circuit, including at Edinburgh and Busan. He made the documentary McKellen: Playing the Part in 2017 about the legendary actor. More recently, he directed Agatha: The Midnight Murders, a film made for TV in 2020.