Exclusive Interview with David B. Hayter on Wolves
David Hayter has done a lot of things. From voicing several characters in the Metal Gear games and beyond to directing the new werewolf flick Wolves (review)… it’s safe to say he’s a very busy man. Still, we managed to catch up with him to get the skinny on his hairy new movie.
Dread Central: First of all, congrats on the film! I do know that it took awhile to come to fruition so I’m wondering: How do you keep the level of enthusiasm and excitement going over the years?
David B. Hayter: Well, you know… pretty much all films take forever. When you’re asking people for millions and millions of dollars, it always moves at a glacial pace unless you’re doing like X-Men II for example, which we knew was a guaranteed hit; then they just jump right into production. But apart from that I think the key to making a decent film is you have to retain that enthusiasm and fire all the way through, and you have to remember each time you rewrite the script to look at it, again, as if it’s the first time you’re ever experiencing it… It’s like re-watching the film 10,000 times in your head and pretending to blank out your memory each time. I think it’s a unique talent and it could certainly drive some people crazy. I mean screenwriting can drive you crazy, certainly. But I think the real key is every now and again I put the script down for two weeks and then pick it up and just say, ‘Okay, I’m sitting in the theater and… fade in.’ And experience it again and again and again. Then you basically just use that talent that everybody has for looking at places in the movie where you go, ‘Oh, well, why are they doing that? Or why would they make that decision?’ Any place that occurs you rewrite it with something better, hopefully.
DC: What it is about werewolves that you wanted to explore? We have seen a lot of werewolf films so what is it that you think keeps them fresh and interesting over the years?
DBH: Well, you know, they’re woven into our storytelling DNA. People have been telling these stories for hundreds, possibly a thousand or more, years because they were afraid of the literal wolf in the woods. And I think because there is such an undercurrent of savagery in human beings, it’s just a natural comparison to make. I think it speaks to all of our experience in our history, this notion that, yes, we have a thin veneer of civilization on us, but in a dire situation all of that could be stripped away. You could find yourself, you know, having to kill with your bare hands or use this viciousness. And for myself I went through a period… it’s semi-autographical, this film.
DBH: Well, I went through periods where… I used to get hassled a lot and I started to fight back and I turned out to be pretty good at it. So then there was a period of about five years where [if] anybody wanted to fight, I would dive right in and mess them up. So it [is] what I hope is a unique take here. Instead of it being about an out-of-control monster inside you, it’s about the rage and fury that exists inside you… in that position you’re not looking to destroy it, you’re looking to learn to control it. And you’re looking to learn to focus it. And so that was the perspective I took on this. That was how I tied it to my own experience. And hopefully that is a somewhat original take on the genre.
DC: When you worked with Dave Elsey, who is so amazing, on the special effects, how much input did he want you to have and vice versa? Were you very collaborative on it? Or did you just kind of let him do his magic?
DBH: Oh, yeah, well, we were very collaborative on it, and I had very specific elements that I wanted to incorporate. I tried to look at all of the traps of this creature. Like I think putting a big snout on an actor is a mistake. I think, you know, sometimes the ears poking up look like elf ears. If you look at my wolves, their ears angle back because when a wolf is angry, their ears pin back against their head and it just gave it a cooler, sleeker look. So there was a lot of elements like that that we discussed. I wanted Angelina to still be beautiful and she was—well, in fact, I really wanted the wolves to be beautiful all the way around because that’s how wolves are. They’re not ugly, hairy, out-of-control beasts. They’re very quiet, sleek, elegant creatures. So that was the thinking going into it. But, of course, Dave and Lou Elsey are master monster makers, and so to a certain extent you also let them do what they do. And it was a nice collaboration.
DC: Yeah, it sure was. So, can you tell me a little bit about what the plans are for the film? When it’s coming out, and how can fans see it?
DBH: Well, we’re doing a premium VOD rollout on October 16th. And we are coming out in theaters in eleven cities on November 14th. So if you have an Apple TV, you can get it I think next week, and if you don’t, then hopefully it’s coming to a theater near you next month.
Directed by David Hayter, Wolves stars Lucas Till, Stephen McHattie, John Pyper-Ferguson, Merritt Patterson, and Jason Momoa. Look for the beast to be unleashed Thursday, October 16th, on Video on Demand and Friday, November 14th, in select cities nationwide.
Popular high school student Cayden Richards wakes from a horrific nightmare, only to realize that he’s living it. He is changing into something vicious, unpredictable, and wild. Forced to hit the road after the brutal murder of his parents, Cayden tries to hunt down the truth of what he is. In the remote mountain town of Lupine Ridge, he discovers others like himself – including the beautiful Angelina, a young woman caught between two ancient clans of “wolves.” And when he finally discovers the shocking truth behind his ancestry, Cayden realizes there is only one way to save the woman he loves… a grisly fight to the death against forces more savage than he could have ever imagined.