Lisa Frankenstein: Cole Sprouse and Kathryn Newton on Their Unforgettable Characters in '80s-Set Parody of Mary Shelley's Monster

Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse Star in Diablo Cody's Hilarious Romance, Lisa Frankenstein

Lisa Frankenstein, starring Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse, comes to theaters on February 9, 2024. The film is billed as "a coming-of-rage love story about a misunderstood teenager and her high school crush, who happens to be a handsome corpse."

Bloody Disgusting spoke with the stars of Lisa Frankenstein about their approach to playing these tricky characters. The duo spoke about their respective characters, collaborating with Diablo Cody, and honing their chemistry after knowing each other for years.

Newton plays high school outcast Lisa Swallows, a character that undergoes some dramatic shifts throughout the film. When asked if she had a specific conversation or movie reference point that helped her unlock her character, Newton admitted, "That's such a good question because I don't think I ever really figured her out, but here we are."

Newton continued, "I don't know. I think that there were a lot of unanswered questions, actually. I remember there was a day Diablo was on set, and there's a scene where Cole's character kills somebody, and Lisa's reaction, scripted, is, 'Mommy,' and the character's not her mommy. It has nothing to do with her mom, but the character, Lisa, is dealing with grief. I asked Diablo, 'Why do you think she says this? What do you think this is about?' and she said, 'I don't know.' And I was like, 'Yeah, I don't know.' Some people just do things."

Newton added, "That's why I like horror films. They do these crazy movies, and you get to go somewhere you're not going to go in another kind of movie. Even a rom-com or an action film, it's more of a machine. A movie like this is risky for everybody. Everyone who made this movie took a risk because they love movies like this. So for me, it was like, 'Okay, if I'm going to do this role, I see how difficult it can be because it's a weird role, right? My co-star doesn't speak. You have Cole Sprouse in a movie, and you're going to tell him not to talk. Huge mistake. Huge. But here we are. We did it, and I love it. Yeah, I feel like she's like me and who I wish I was sometimes, but it wouldn't really work in real life, and that's why we have movies."

Opposite the boisterous Lisa Swallows is her Creature, the straight man to his eccentric, comedic partner. Sprouse plays the role strictly through physical performance, something he admits was a challenge. When asked how he approached the physicality and if he developed any kind of nonverbal shorthand with Newton for their onscreen relationship, Sprouse responded, "I think when I first talked about the character with Zelda, we tried to figure out who the character was in each phase of Creature's humanity. And if there was a through line, why would this gentleman take to violence? That sort of thing. I think for the unspoken thing, that's not really a measurable thing you can test for beforehand. That kind of chemistry just exists when you get on set. It's down to how comfortable the two people feel around each other and if that kind of creativity can feel comfortable as well."

Newton and Sprouse have known each other for a while, which they say helped establish a certain level of communication and chemistry. "The fact that we had beforehand was really nice," Sprouse added.

While Lisa Frankenstein isn't a horror movie, it does draw from '80s genre fare significant influences. How well-versed are Newton and Sprouse in '80s cinema? They offered up two '80s horror picks when asked to select their favorite '80s movies. For Sprouse, it was a no-brainer, "John Carpenter's The Thing."

Newton unwittingly selected a hilarious 1989 dark comedy gem, "Is Heather's an '80s movie? Heathers."

Read more