Beattie to direct Lionsgate's creature feature

Aaron Eckhart will play the lead role in ”I, Frankenstein” for Lakeshore Entertainment, Hopscotch Features and Lionsgate.

Producers made the casting announcement Friday and said production is commencing in Australia in January.

Stuart Beattie is directing from his own script, based on a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, co-creator of the ”Underworld” franchise.

Lionsgate will distribute the film in the United States, Lakeshore will handle international sales and E1/Hopscotch will distribute in Australia. The U.S. release is slated for Feb. 22, 2013.

Eckhart’s portraying the Frankenstein creature Adam who has survived to present day due to a genetic quirk in his creation. Making his way to a dark, gothic metropolis, he finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans.

Beattie said, ”Mary Shelley’s story is about the creation of the first human being. This is the story about that being becoming human.”

Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Andrew Mason (who produced Beattie’s ”Tomorrow, When the War Began”) and Richard Wright of Lakeshore are producing the film, with Hopscotch’s Troy Lum and Kevin Grevioux as executive producers.

Michael Paseornek, Lionsgate’s President of Motion Picture Development and Production will be shepherding the project at the studio.

Eckhart recently finished shooting the lead role as an ex-CIA agent in “The Expatriate” and stars with Johnny Depp in the upcoming “The Rum Diary.” He’s repped by CAA.

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