You may not immediately jump to this same conclusion, but I think there’s finally some good news to share about Joe Johnston‘s The Wolfman. Having said that, this is a film I’ve been feeling really quite down on since original director Mark Romanek left the project and, to be honest, I don’t think anything we could end up with now will be even a mere shade of what Romanek could have realised.
The lastest turnover on the production is the hiring of two new editors, in the stead of the previously attached Dennis Virkler – though at least Virkler got to add the film to his stunning resume of crowd displeasers, alongside Xanadu, Freejack, the Schumacher Batman films and other such gems. The production really couldn’t have called on a pair of more impressive names to save the day, however, with action expert Mark Goldblatt and all-round Edit Bay Yoda Walter Murch getting the nod.
Amongst other credits, Goldblatt was the editor of Cameron’s Terminator films and the only Michael Bay films to be remotely comprehensible, and directed second unit on Robocop; while Murch was the sound editor on The Conversation and The Godfather Part 2, sound and picture editor of Apocalypse Now, editor of Ghost and The Talented Mr. Ripley, and director of Return to Oz.
The Murch and Goldblatt news was buried – and I mean buried – in a Variety article. That just goes to show the respect editors receive for their efforts. The directorial equivalent would be James Cameron and Steven Soderbergh coming in to replace Stephen Sommers – massive news.
If it could be said that the final cut of a film is the final draft of its story (we won’t say screenplay, because that’s obviously not true – screenplay and story are no more interchangeable than hair and dog) then there’s every chance that Goldblatt and Murch will now step in and fashion something at least efficient and functional out of the Wolfman rushes. Here’s hoping Johnston likes to shoot a lot of coverage and has left the editors’ options open as much as possible.
If you’re worried about Murch and Goldblatt being studio pawns then don’t be. No matter how workmanlike their efforts here might be (read:professional), these are guys who know how to elicit a response from the audience and I’d expect their inflection of the story will be the best telling we could now even dare to hope for.
What isn’t clear is how closely Murch and Goldblatt will be working with one another or, perhaps most importantly, Joe Johnston. Since I first wrote about second unit director Vic Armstrong shooting some additional action for the film this summer I’ve been curious about the Johnston’s day-to-day involvement with the picture. Does anybody out there now if he’s involved in this hiring and firing? Or was he just another thing on a string for the production to drag around?