wolfman reboot

After bumbling and stumbling with The Mummy, Universal seems to finally be back on their feet when it comes to reviving their classic monsters. They had big success with Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man, and already have several other monster-themed projects in the works. Now a new beastie has joined the lineup: Wolfman. Ryan Gosling is set to play the lycanthrope, and Universal is said to be closing in on a director.

Variety has the scoop on the Wolfman reboot, stating the project is being developed as a project for star Ryan Gosling. The studio is said to be close to finalizing a director, too, with Thoroughbreds and Bad Education filmmaker Cory Finley in the running. They also add that for a while there, Gosling was considering directing himself. This would’ve marked Gosling’s first directorial effort since his unjustly maligned 2014 directorial debut Lost River. Lots of people seem to hate that movie, but I thought it was excellent, and wish Gosling would direct more. While he might get behind the camera again someday, he won’t be doing it for Wolfman.

Plot details are vague, but the report says the film is “believed to be set in present times and in the vein of Jake Gyllenhaal’s thriller Nightcrawler, with an obvious supernatural twist.” Nightcrawler followed a sociopath who makes a name for himself filming accidents and other horrible crimes in Los Angeles, and then selling the videos to the local news. I’m not sure how you work that into a Wolfman story, but I’ll let the filmmakers figure that out.

Universal’s first crack at the werewolf tale was 1935’s Werewolf of London, about a botanist who is attacked by a strange creature while in Tibet. Spoiler alert: the strange creature is a werewolf, and the botanist finds himself turning into a werewolf as well once he returns home. While this was Universal’s first werewolf movie, the werewolf title they’re most known for is 1941’s The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the son of a nobleman who returns home after his brother is killed. One night, Talbot is attacked by a werewolf, and is cursed to become a werewolf himself as a result. Universal followed that up with 1946’s She-Wolf of London.

The studio attempted to remake The Wolf Man once before, with 2010’s The Wolf Man, directed by Joe Johnston and starring Benicio del Toro. Despite featuring some great gothic atmosphere and wonderful werewolf make-up by Rick Baker, the film was a bit of a dud and bombed at the box office. Now, Universal will take a stab at the property again.

The new Wolfman has a script from Orange Is the New Black writers Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, and is based on an original pitch by Gosling. It’s just the latest in a growing lineup of new Universal monster movies, including Paul Feig’s Dark Army, Dexter Fletcher’s Renfield, Elizabeth Banks’ Invisible Woman,  Matt Stawski’s The Monster Mash, and Karyn Kusama’s Dracula.

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