Screen Scotland funding: The film accessed £350,000 through Screen Scotland’s Film Development and Production Fund to support this unique hybrid film/theatre live event and feature film which provided significant opportunities for Scottish film crew to develop the skills that are involved in live-streamed events. The fund also supported the progression of Scottish-based filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach and producer Wendy Griffin in advancing their careers.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Hope Dickson Leach and Vlad Butucea, returns to Edinburgh born writer Robert Louis Stevenson’s original story which was published in 1886. The drama follows Gabriel Utterson as he enters a world of dark duplicity to uncover the identity of the mysterious Mr Hyde and the hold he has over Utterson’s old friend Dr Jekyll.
In this version, Utterson’s journey is set against the background and backdrop of Victorian Edinburgh, where the wealth of the breweries is contrasted with the poverty of the Cowgate Vaults, exposing an underbelly of dark truths and corruption. Concerned by his good friend Dr Henry Jekyll’s recent behaviour, Gabriel Utterson is driven to uncover the identity of the mysterious and dangerous Mr. Hyde, to whom Jekyll is enthralled. Whilst on this search for the truth, Utterson finds himself seduced by the society of Edinburgh’s rich and powerful, but beneath the glossy façade lies a grim and brutal reality. This is a Jekyll and Hyde reworked for a contemporary audience with the themes of power, class and masculinity brought to the fore.
The very first film version of Stevenson’s novel is believed to be a 16-minute-long silent horror film of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde made in 1908, based on a stage play. Since then, there have been over 123 films made, from animation to satire to horror, with versions filmed across the world.
Filmed largely within the atmospheric setting of Edinburgh’s historic Leith Theatre, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was originally presented in February 2022 as a live, cinematic experience in the venue.
Embracing the duality of the storyline and the period authenticity, the film was shot in black and white.
Header image: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde still, courtesy of EIFF