The director spoke with PEOPLE about working on the film at its Los Angeles premiere on Monday
Zelda Williams is opening up about how it felt to make her directorial debut.
Speaking with PEOPLE at the Lisa Frankenstein premiere in Los Angeles on Monday, Zelda, 34, reveals that it was "really daunting" directing a script by writer and film producer Diablo Cody.
"I think that was the thing that scared me most is, as far as tone goes," Zelda tells PEOPLE. "Starting with a campy comedy can be really daunting. But I'm very grateful. We had such a good time."
She also explains that it was the "universe" that decided Lisa Frankenstein would be her directorial debut.
"The pandemic happened, and other movies I was set to do just didn't survive," Zelda says. "Weirdly, this was the strange little train that did, and I'm very grateful for that."
Meanwhile, Zelda reveals that the movie could be the perfect activity for Galentine's Day.
"Well, as one of the singles on this set, I actually think it's a great Galentine's Day movie," Zelda tells PEOPLE. "Because I don't think it's going to leave you sitting there being like, 'I'm alone and I'm sad.' It's mainly to laugh. Whether you're single or with a partner, I think laughter is a really great thing."
The actress and director makes her feature-length directorial debut with the horror comedy starring Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse. She shared news of her involvement back in 2022 on Twitter, calling Lisa Frankenstein “the most bonkers, wonderful zombie script” she had ever read.
“For that, I will be forever grateful!” she wrote of the opportunity at the time.
Cody, who wrote Lisa Frankenstein, told PEOPLE in a recent interview that "Zelda is a really captivating person because she is so intelligent, she's so literate in film and she's so direct and confident in a way that directors need to be. And I could see that in her."
She added, "The very first time we met, I thought to myself, 'I can't believe this person has never directed a feature before, because I feel like I'm meeting someone who's 10 films in.' It was that confidence that drew me to her and also just that she had such an innate understanding of the source material."
Cody made it clear that "With [Zelda], it was just the vibe was immaculate from our first meeting. And so I said, 'Let's do this.' And I'm so glad that I did."
Lisa Frankenstein, set in 1989, depicts a high schooler (Newton) who revives an unexpectedly attractive Victorian corpse (Sprouse) during a storm and shapes him into her perfect man. Written by Diablo Cody, the screenwriter of the cult classic Jennifer’s Body, the movie will also feature Liza Soberano, Henry Eikenberry, Joe Chrest and Carla Gugino.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Zelda revealed her fascination from a young age with her late father Robin Williams' prolific acting career. Behind the scenes of the 1999 sci-fi Bicentennial Man, in which Robin played the role of Andrew Martin, Zelda recalled, “That was when I was old enough to really understand that there was a whole bunch of jobs you could also do.”
She has followed Robin’s footsteps into the entertainment industry, appearing as a lead in the Freeform horror series Dead of Summer and voice acting in shows like The Legend of Korra.
Robin tragically died by suicide at age 63 in August 2014. In the years following, Zelda took a social media break on the anniversary of his death, writing in 2020 that “some days it can feel a bit like being seen as a roadside memorial — a place, not a person — where people drive past and leave their sentiments to then go about their days comforted their love for him was witnessed.”
In follow-up tweets to her 2020 message, she linked mental health resources and added, “Reach out. Seek help. Keep fighting.”
Lisa Frankenstein is in theaters Feb. 9.
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