When a film has a troubled production I rarely have any hope that it will be good. Think of The Avengers, Supernova and Cursed, all films that had problems during their production and all films that sucked. Big time. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking a bad production means a bad movie.
When Mark Romanek left The Wolfman because of creative differences over the making of the film (the budget in particular) it looked like Universal's chance of turning the old horror icon into a viable franchise for the 21st Century had bitten the silver bullet.
However, when journey man director Joe Johnston jumped on-board to steer the film through its choppy waters it looked like we might be in safe hands. Then the first official pictures of Benicio Del Toro in full Wolfman make-up appeared online it looked like we were on to a winner. Now Empire has an exclusive interview with Scott Stuber (great name), the producer of the film, detailing some plot points and some of the creative decisions that have been made on the film.
What he tells us is nothing short of great news.
First up, the best news: the film will be set in the late 1880's to 1890. Great, a true gothic horror!
Stuber also says that The Wolfman:
"obviously has horror elements from the gothic nature of the movie and the inevitability of – the one thing the Wolfman does is he kills. So there’s got to be some scares and gore in the killings and the things he does while he’s the beast. So there’s that aspect of horror and we’re really trying to be true to that iconic horror stuff. I think the virtue of the movie and the reason we’ve got actors like Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro, is the writing. The quality of the storytelling is really interesting."
The producer also tells the magazine that Del Toro is a huge fan of The Wolfman and that the actor is a collector of Wolfman memorabilia. Okay, this could be marketing spin, but it is always good to hear that an actor admires the character that they're playing, and that he isn't taking the film for a handsome paycheck and public exposure (not the George Michael type of public exposure, that's just gross).
When the original director pulled out of the film quite a few directors were mooted to replace him. When asked why they chose Joe Johnston, Stuber replied:
"The great thing about Joe is that he’s such a diverse filmmaker. Whether you look at his family films or something like October Sky, which I thought was a great film. Then Jurassic Park III, he did a great job. That’s really hard, to come in and take a Steven Spielberg franchise and do new and different things, which I thought he did. He really brought a sense of tension and anxiety to that movie. Any good horror movie exists on how much you pull the strings before you let them go. It’s all about how far you can take the audience in tension and anxiety and I think he’d shown the ability to do that as a filmmaker."
Again, you can't argue with that. In fact what Stuber doesn't say is that Johnston did what Spielberg was unable to do; make a good Jurassic Park sequel. How many Jaws directors can say that?
Just know this- I'm excited by this movie, and you should be too!
Keep reading my updates and one day you too will be bitten by The Wolfman!
The Wolfman is due to be released on February 13th, 2009.