Guillermo del Toro was spotted in Glasgow this week, seemingly scouting locations for his upcoming Frankenstein film. However, being the master of macabre entertainment that he is, it makes sense that the Oscar-winning filmmaker also stopped by a building that’s part of Scotland’s haunted history.
The photo shows the Pan’s Labyrinth director standing outside 7 Blythswood Square, which is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Madeleine Smith. As history tells us, Smith, a socialite, was accused of murdering her secret lover, Pierre Emile L’Angelier, in 1857. Supposedly, she laced his cups of hot chocolate with arsenic, but the courts couldn’t prove it.
As he mentions in his X (formerly Twitter) post, the building was recreated in David Lean’s 1950 classic Madeleine, which dramatises the events that led to Smith’s day in court. Del Toro greatly admires Lean’s work, having selected Oliver Twist and Great Expectations among his top 10 Criterion favourites, and he never misses an opportunity to promote the best titles in his oeuvre.
After visiting the reportedly haunted building and paying homage to Lean on social media, del Toro stopped by Mharsanta in the Merchant City for a plate of haggis, neeps, and tatties. He even posed for a quick picture with the staff, who were more than delighted to have one of Hollywood’s best filmmakers dine out in their restaurant.
Sadly, del Toro didn’t provide any more updates on Frankenstein, but things look promising for his adaptation of Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking Gothic horror novel. Last month, he confirmed Christoph Waltz will star in the film, joining a cast that includes Mia Goth, Andrew Driver, and Oscar Isaac. Furthermore, the film is slated to start shooting in February.
Del Toro has been trying to make a Frankenstein feature since 2008, though he dreamed of it long before then. He once said that he has a “Frankenstein fetish to a degree that is unhealthy,” and he considers Shelley’s original novel to be the most important book of his life. So, really, Guillermo del Toro is the perfect director for this one.