Wolfman will not howl till after Halloween

In a brief post about some reshuffling of Universal Studio’s release schedule for 2009, TheMoviePicture.net reports that the remake of THE WOLF MAN, starring Benicio Del Toro, has been pushed back from April 3 to November 6 to make room for the new FAST AND THE FURIOUS sequel, which is finished and ready to go.

The studio said the reshuffling was the sensible thing to do, considering that Fast and Furious is complete, while the Brian Grazer-produced Nottingham won’t start filming until February or March. The Wolf Man move gives the film more of a high-profile release, as well as more time for post-production.

Wolfman preview at HHN

Shock Till You Drop is reporting that preview footage from THE WOLFMAN will screen as part of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

Attendees who ride the Terror Tram Tour at Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights will get a peek at Joe Johnston’s redo of The Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving.
The footage will play on the tram’s television screens towards the end of the ride. Expect to see The Wolfman figure prominently in 2009’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Not coincidentally, the film is a remake of one of Universal’s classic movie monsters – the 1941 original starred Lon Chaney as Lawrence Talbot, a man bitten by a wolf and cursed with lycanthropy.
And while we’re talking about Halloween Horror Nights, here is another tidbit of interest:
You can now vote in this year’s short film contest for Halloween Horror Nights. Ten titles are vying for the #1 spot; you can view all of them and you can cast your vote here.
Voting ends on September 22. The winner, who will be named on September 25, will receive free passes to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

Del Toro as the Wolfman

Over at the Vault of Horror, Brian Solomon reacts with understandable aweto photographs of Benicio Del Toro in Rick Baker’s make-up for THE WOLF MAN, the remake of the 1941 horror classic starring Lon Chaney. The great thing about the make-up is that the overall look is instantly recognizable as being inspired by the original, while at the same time a close inspection reveals that distinguish it as its own animal. There is more hairless skin visible around the eyes, and the creased brow suggest a snarling rage. The mouth has been fashioned to suggest a slightly extended snout, with jutting teeth that look more functional. The torn shirt and hair chest are a nice touch lifted from Oliver Reed in CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF. The film is being directed by Joe Johnston, from a screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker, rewritten by David Self. Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving co-star.

Wolfman fetches director Johnston

Aint It Cool News is reporting that Joe Johnston was selected by Universal to direct their re-make/re-launch/re-whatever of THE WOLF MAN, one of their most revered horror properties from their golden age. The curious exit of Mark Romanek (ONE HOUR PHOTO) just weeks before filming left a vacuum that had everyone from fanboy wetdreams John Landis and Joe Dante, to Brits like Martin Campbell (CASINO ROYALE) and Neil Marshall (THE DESCENT), to shits like Brett Ratner (RUSH HOUR, X3). From this group, Joe Johnson seemed like a real longshot; his track record features a lot of EFX heavy blockbusters like JUMANJI, HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, and JURASSIC PARK 3 that make him the studio-friendly choice. No auteur tantrums, no doing 50 takes because a shot isn’t perfect, just a hired gun who’ll keep the train on the tracks. But Johnson cut his teeth working for Lucas in the early ’80s as an art director on EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and has thus far directed two wonderful (and totally different) films, THE ROCKETEER and OCTOBER SKY. That’s two wonderful films more than Brett Ratner has made; Ratner seemed to be the favorite after he performed the same ‘emergency fill-in’ service for Fox when Bryan Singer left X3.

Lon Chaney and Evelyn Ankers in THE WOLF MAN (1941).
Remember, filming is set to commence in weeks – not months. The script (penned by SE7EN’s Andrew Kevin Walker), actors (Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot and Anthony Hopkins as Talbot Sr.), EFX make-up (by Rick Baker!), locations, costume and design work are all already locked, so whomever Universal hires isn’t going to have too much wiggle room to put their own stamp on the proceedings.

Cybersurfing 01/29/08

Jessica AlbaALBA STUDIED HARD FOR HORROR FILM: PR-inside.com tells us that actress Jessica album took music lessons and studied blind people for her role as a blind violinist in THE EYE, which opens this Friday. Alba is building up quite the horror, fantasy, sci-fi resume, with roles in IDLE HANDS, SIN CITY, and FANTASTIC FOUR.
ROMANEK DROPS OUT OF “WOLF MAN”: Mark Romanek has decided that the path to directing THE WOLFMAN – a remake of the 1941 classic starring Lon Chaney – is just too thorny. The director left over “creative differences,” but Universal Studios insists that the project is in great shape. Benicio Del Toro is set for the lead, with Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt in supporting roles. The film was scheduled fo a February 18 start date; Universal will need to find a new director quickly.
JULIANNE MMORE SEEKS SHELTER: The actress has signed to star in a $25-million supernatural horror thriller from Nala Films (IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH). The Swedish duo of Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein will direct SHELTER, from a script by Michael Cooney (IDENTITY). Production is scheduled for March in Pittsburgh.
E.T. GIVES BIRTH TO CJ7: Hong Kong actor and filmmaker Stephen Chow cites Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film about a cuddly alien as inspiration for CHANGJIAN QIHAO (CJ7), Chow’s new science fiction film about love between a father and son:

“I watched it many times,” said Chow of E.T. “I was amazed that science fiction could be filmed like that. I knew then I wanted to make a mvoie like that. Spielberg’s work inspired me to become a director.”

Wolfman droppings

Lon Chaney Jr. in the Jack Pierce makeup for the 1941 version of THE WOLF MANMTV.Com’s Movieblogs has a tiny tidbit from Benicio Del Toro about his proposed starring role in a remake of THE WOLF MAN:

Del Toro seems psyched for the project to be directed by Mark Romanek. “We’re trying to go back to the original. There’s something very nostalgic about it for me. I loved all those monsters when I was a kid,” he said.
Asked if, as rumored, Anthony Hopkins is on board as well Del Toro said, “I think so,” before adding that the final deals haven’t been closed nor has a starting date been determined. Excitedly Del Toro said, “I have never done a horror film.” He quickly added with a laugh, “maybe a lot of my films already are horror films.”

Set in Britain, the original 1941 version of THE WOLF MAN starred Lon Chaney, Jr. as the son of a prestigious family who returns home after a stay in America. He is bitten by a wolf – which turns out to have been a werewolf – and suffers the curse of lycanthropy, which dooms him to transform whenever the moon is full.

Although commonly regarded as a classic alongside FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA (both 1931), THE WOLF MAN is a bit over-rated, being filled with repetitive dialogue and strange inconsistencies (the werewolf the bites our hero is clearly a real wolf that runs on all fours, but Chaney turns into some kind of man-wolf hybrid that walks upright). Still, the character has joined the pantheon of horror icons, and it will be interested to see how a modern version would turn out.