If you see Rick Baker, given him a high five! The genius of movie make-up behind American Werewolf in London has once again created one helluva Wolfman! Yes, that is Benecio Del Toro fully transformed into the full moon-friendly title beast in director Joe Johnston‘s The Wolfman. EW got first dibbs on these two images from the 2009 horror flick co-starring Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt along with a pretty cool interview with Baker. Here’s an excerpt…
How much did you update the makeup from the  original?
Rick Baker: It’s actually more frightening. But I still wanted to be true to the original and show respect for it. What’s interesting about those two pictures is that there’s one that he’s kind of facing forward and you see a little more of his body – that’s very much more of a classic Wolfman shot; it looks more like the Chaney version. The close-up one is a more frightening and dynamic version. Even though it’s the same makeup [as the first picture], he can do a lot more than Lon Chaney could do with the makeup. It’s cool that there’s something for the old-school guys, and the other picture is more for the guys who don’t even know what the Wolfman is but can see that picture and still go, ”Oh, that’s cool!”
Discuss: On a scale of 1-10 howls, how sweet are these images? Â
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Actor Hugo Weaving (V For Vendetta, The Matrix) is set to star as Detective Aberline for director Joe Johnston in The Wolf Man. Weaving will join a cast that includes Anthony Hopkins (as the Wolf Man’s father), Benicio del Toro (as the Wolf Man) and Emily Blunt (as the love interest). This is the first bit of casting news for the big budget remake of the 1941 horror film since the original director, Mark Romanek, abruptly left at the end of January over budget issues. Romanek had spent a few years working to bring the film to the screen with del Toro, and now Variety reports that Johnston has had David Self (Road to Perdition, The Haunting) do a rewrite of the script by Andrew Scott Walker. A little curious.
Weaving is the guy to go to for classier event films like this and he definitely boosts the movie’s chances of being a creative success. But Johnston, who previously directed Hidalgo, Jumanji and Jurassic Park III, inspires nothing. He has a surprising number of defenders online, but to me, this is the equivalent of hypothetically never seeing Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Would this lavish project have happened with Johnston on board originally? No. And such a thought will be in the back of my head for sometime, perhaps even while watching the film in February ’09, if applicable. Romanek hasn’t updated the news page on his official website in years; you have to wonder if he’ll ever open up about what happened.
Discuss: If Hugo Weaving ever plays a villain in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, who should he play?
Last week after Mark Romanek quit the $85 million remake of The Wolf Man, names began to drop over possible replacements. Brett Ratner? Ick! John Landis? How strange! Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves? Really?? And now comes word that Joe Johnston has come aboard the project to save the day. And while some are giving Johnston a hero starring credit in this story (yes, he was the guy who designed Boba Fett and won an FX oscar for Raiders of the Lost Ark), am I the only one to remember that this is also the guy who made the horrendous third Jurassic Park film? Or the 2004 Action/Adventure Western misfire Hidalgo?
And the fact that Romanek left the project over creative differences doesn’t inspire blind faith in Andrew Kevin Walker’s screenplay. I mean, what has Walker done anyway? Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hallow? Joel Schumacher’s 8MM? David Fincher’s Se7en! Ah ha! You knew there had to be a hit buried in that filmography somewhere right?
Johnson knows special effects, but aside from transformation sequences, how important will his talents play in this film? Johnson’s October Sky is a pure joy to watch, and is evidence that he (at least at one point) had a knack for directing drama. It should be noted that Romanek supposedly wanted a larger budget. Maybe Johnston’s FX knowledge will help him achieve more with less?
The film has a promising cast for a horror remake, with Benicio Del Toro as the title character, Anthony Hopkins as the title character’s father (read what you will), and Emily Blunt (The Devil Knows…) as the female lead.
Johnston helming The Wolf Man might mean that a fourth Jurassic Park is possibly further out of reach. Oh well…
There is a thermometer in my mouth as I type this surrounded by cherry cough drop wrappers, but this news was too terrible to not germinate my keyboard. Director Mark Romanek has left The Wolf Man, the $100 million remake of the horror classic starring Benicio Del Toro in the title role alongside Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt that was scheduled to start filming on February 18th. What happened? Well, of course ye ole’ “creative differences” are to blame, but more specifically Romanek wanted a larger budget. Full moons and fake wolf hair are nothing to laugh at, I mean what with the price of gas these days and London brothels and cucumbers in bulk.
Universal Pictures is quickly seeking a replacement. Who would you like to see? A source tells AICN that names already being tossed around include Cloverfield‘s Matt Reeves and newcomer Breck Eisner. While the cast is rather cool, Romanek was the main factor in my increasing anticipation of the project. His prior film, 2002’s One Hour Photo, is now a cult classic and if you’ve seen it, you find yourself thinking about it occasionally like a little florescent-lit bell of eeriness and dread going off in the back of your mind. And of course, there’s his feted video work, including the perennial favorite “Closer’ for Nine Inch Nails, “Novocaine For the Soul” for Eels, and “Devil’s Haircut” for Beck. Some might find the Wolf Man to be a tired character, but this was to be something completely different. He had spent two years prepping the project with Del Toro.
So, now what? Romanek is still attached to A Cold Case, a film that was to go into production years ago with Tom Hanks in the lead, but no word on its current status. One hopes that he can channel his energies into something quick, but a sudden exit of this magnitude is not forgotten in Hollywood.
In a film that already has one of the classiest casts for a horror flick in sometime, Emily Blunt has confirmed to Cinema Blend that she’s starring in The Wolf Man for director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo). Set for release in February 2009, Blunt will presumably play the love interest to a lupine-trait-stricken Benicio Del Toro, with Anthony Hopkins set to play father to the man-wolf. Set in Victorian England, the loose remake of the 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. horror classic will not face a delay due to the strike and starts shooting next month in London.
This is impeccable casting, as there are a number of lesser, more mainstream actresses (see one in preceding Razzies post) who could have spoiled the film with stereotypical coyness and “Oh, my skirt” tone killers. Blunt automatically brings a fresh sophistication and calm intensity as well as her perfectly icy features to the dark and sanguinary tale.
/Film recently reviewed two of Blunt’s latest films now playing at the Sundance Film Festival. Click here to read the 7/10 review of The Great Buck Howard and here to read the 7.5/10 review of Sunshine Cleaning, a buzzing crime clean-up dramedy.
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
MTV has confirmed that Anthony Hopkins has been cast in Universal’s The Wolf Man, a revamp of the classic horror movie. Hopkins will play Sir John Talbot, father of Lawrence Talbot (played by Benicio Del Toro), who becomes afflicted with the infamous curse of the werewolf. Music video director turned filmmaker Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) is set to go into production late this year. The film will hit theaters on February 13th 2009.
It looks like Benicio Del Toro might be forgoing the computer generated effects for his next role in The Wolf Man. TMZ caught Del Toro driving somewhere in Beverly Hills (where else?).
Mark Romanek’s (One Hour Photo) remake of the 1941 horror film features Lawrence Talbot as an American man who returns to his ancestral homeland, only to be bitten, and subsequently cursed by, a werewolf. Anthony Hopkins also stars. Production begins in December. Scary.