PASADENA — Miranda Otto is not just having a good week — it's a great week. The Australian actress stars in the film "I, Frankenstein," opening today, and has a role in a the new FOX TV series "Rake," which launched Thursday night.
"I, Frankenstein" takes place 200 years after Dr. Frankenstein created his monster (Aaron Eckhart), who still walks the earth. The pieced- together creature finds himself in the middle of a war over the fate of humanity where he holds the key that could destroy humankind.
"I play Leonore, high queen of the Gargoyles," Otto says. "She is the leader of the Gargoyle order. While she can be mean at times, basically the gargoyles are on the side of good. They are on the side of God. You might think gargoyles are only stone monuments on a church, but they are real figures who protect and keep away demons."
This isn't Otto's first sci-fi/fantasy job. She appeared in two of the "Lord of the Rings" movies — "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" — as Eowyn. She loves the genre because the roles are usually fun. She says this film wasn't quite as much fun: She likes to play characters who are in the middle of the action, and her high queen has a more ethereal nature. A lot of her time is spent with the creature, whom she names Adam.
"He's a being without a soul because he was put together. Adam falls into this place where he could be taken by the demons because he's got no soul and has superpowers. The demons want to use him as a way to figure out how to make more like him," Otto says. "I'm the one who decides, when the gargoyles bring him in, whether we should kill him or bring him into our order."
In a little way, the role is not that far from her work on "Rake," where she plays the ex-wife of a troubled lawyer played by Greg Kinnear. His financial failures, sexual antics and numerous other bad habits make him a lost soul. Otto's character is also a psychologist who begrudgingly acts as his therapist.
The FOX series is based on an Australian series that Otto saw while living down under. She was excited to land a role in the American version.
"I loved the show. It was a very clever kind of adult show which was very intelligent. I enjoyed the wordplay, and I loved the fact that he was surrounded by all these fabulous women who still really loved him, no matter how many bad things he did. And I thought it was such a clever conceit to have these strong women around him," Otto says.
"And it kind of gave him license to do all kinds of shocking things."
Otto sees her role — and all the roles of the women in the program — as being the anchors for Rake, holding him down emotionally, sexually, financially and parentally.
"I, Frankenstein," rated PG-13. Stars Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski and Miranda Otto. Directed by Stuart Beattie. Running time: 92 minutes. Movie was not shown to critics for review.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.