Joe Johnston to Direct The Wolf Man

The Wolf Man

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…


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Director Mark Romanek Quits The Wolf Man


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.

Anthony Hopkins in The Wolf Man

The Wolfman Hopkins

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.