Dread Central attended the red carpet premiere of Universal Pictures’ The Wolfman redux earlier this evening at the Arclight in Hollywood, CA, and brought back a handful of pics of the event as well as having an opportunity to chat with the film’s screenwriter, David Self, and F/X man Rick Baker.
“It was way my dad’s favorite movie as a kid,” Self told us of the 1941 original, as throngs of paparazzi eagerly snapped away at The Wolfman stars Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, and Emily Blunt and director Joe Johnston. “He introduced it to me when I was a tyke, too. I’ve tried to show it to my kids, who are like five and seven, but it’s too scary for them. But they dig it so I love to see that it’s still effective.”
Commenting on the ferocity of the remake, Self agreed with Dread that there’s a bit more carnage on-screen in the 2010 version and happily exclaimed, “We aren’t beholden to the censorship board these days!”
With the remake originally penned by Kevin Andrew (Seven) Walker and secondary drafts by the film’s initially-attached director Mark Romanek, Self was brought on board late in the game for a rewrite, and we were interested in what changes the latter effected to the screenplay. Self told us, “A lot of it was just trying to find the most consistent piece of material to work on, and that was Andy’s draft for sure. One of those things was the rule that you can only change on the full moon, so it was sort of trying to tell the story and tell the drama between transformations, and one of the largest challenges was getting Benicio to transform earlier in the script, as originally he didn’t get transformed until seventeen minutes in, which was a little too late.”
(Writer’s note: Per our conversation earlier in the week with the film’s director Johnston, seventeen minutes of footage is to be edited back into the director’s cut for the eventual DVD release of The Wolfman. Is this perhaps to be a portion of the first-draft character development Self referred to?)
As this is The Wolfman, however, the main draw is of course the loyal realization of the original monster makeup as created by Jack Pierce in the 1941 classic, and the remake’s FX man – the venerated and six-time Academy Award-winning creature effects designer Rick Baker – was happy to oblige us our questions.
“It is pretty weird to be here,” said Baker of the carpet hoopla, whose previous creations include the werewolves in An American Werewolf in London and Universal’s 1994 flick Wolf, “and to have people taking my picture and interviewing me because I bet that didn’t happen with Jack Pierce. How lucky am I? Because of him and his makeup, I’m here today.”
As for his campaign to deliver the titular creature entirely in practical FX (a campaign he did not win, as CG does make an appearance in the film – see our interview with Baker regarding that later in the week), “I’m a monster kid at heart,” he said. “It was really important to me that people like me who grew up with these films know that somebody had their heart in the right place with this movie. It was a hard fight at times, but it was also so cool to be England, to be in the fog with the villagers and the torches and the wolfman. It was my dream come true!”
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