Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm not sure what to make of this...

Per Cinescape.com: "Universal Pictures has set actor Benicio Del Toro to star in the remake of THE WOLF MAN. The story will be set in Victorian England. Del Toro will play a man who returns from America to his ancestral homeland, gets bitten by a werewolf and begins a hairy moonlight existence. Andrew Kevin Walker is writing the script. Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn, Mary Parent and Benicio Del Toro will produce. The plan is to shoot the film in 2007 for a summer 2008 release."

This could work, but not if it's Stephen Sommers-ized. I mean, The Mummy actually wasn't bad, because the character and setting lent itself to a modern, outsized take. However, The Wolf Man is an intimate story, and actually should be done for a fairly small amount of money. I just don't know if Hollywood can even think that way any more.

I foresee horrible CGI effects and the inevitable huge explosions and whipping camera work, any of which would doom the project.

One promising note is that the attached screenwriter, Andrew Kevin Walker, did work on the screenplay of Tim Burton's superlative period horror piece Sleepy Hollow (which is really one of my favorite films of the last ten years). Still, Burton's projects are always Burton's, and I don't know how much of a stamp Walker had on that film. However, he also wrote Se7en, so we know he can do horror.

On the other hand..."Walker spent several months working on some frightening new twists to a familiar tale, adding several characters and plot points that take advantage of cutting-edge visual effects technology." Uh, oh. And the sheer fact that this is being lauded elsewhere as a possible "summer tentpole" indicates that elephantitis will be the order of the day.

Meanwhile, Del Toro is an even odder choice to play an Englishman (even one who's mostly been raised in America), but otherwise I think he could make a pretty impressive Larry Talbot. Indeed, Del Toro himself has at times referenced his childhood love of the Universal classics, as in this autobiographical sketch: "From my childhood in Puerto Rico I remember that I loved basketball and monster movies: movies of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Reptiles and dinosaurs fascinated me."

Meanwhile, the Victorian England setting is reassuring, assuming they don't screw things up.

Which they will.

9 Comments:

At 11:25 AM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

It could be good, or it could end up another League of Extraordinary Butt-heads. Walker's name is a good sign--if they can get a good, low-key director even better.

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Yeah, the director is obviously the next big piece. Still, all indications here ("new effects technology," "summer tentpole") is that this will be typically overblown and MTV-ish.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but not keeping my hopes up.

 
At 12:50 PM, Blogger Keith said...

Thanks to The Daily Show, now whenever I hear about werewolves, I'll think, "What would happen if we sent a werewolf to the moon?"

And I have absolutely no hope for a good Wolf Man movie, though as an example of a movie that is able to meld splashy visual effects AND an intimate story, there's always Hellboy.

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Well, if the other Del Toro were to attached to The Wolf Man--as he has been to the on again / off again Creature of the Black Lagoon remake--I'd obviously be a lot more at ease.

Michael Bay...not so much.

 
At 11:58 PM, Blogger Jessica R. said...

I'm sorry I find Del Toro one of the most overrated actors of the past decade. He looks like a set of baggage left out in the rain and his marble mouthed delievery and deadpan playing call not to mind so much Robert Mitchum as they do a bored shiftless jr high student forced into the school play. That said having my horrification circuts blown by the bloated Van Helsing I doubt it could be any worse, though Hollywood is always want to prove me wrong.

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Well, Lon Chaney Jr. wasn't exactly a great actor (especially when he was miscast, as in Son of Dracula), but he *was* Larry Talbot. I think Del Toro might be able to project the same long-suffering qualities.

Frankly, I'm a bit more concerned about the script and the direction than I am the actor.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Sandy Petersen said...

I can't believe you liked Sleepy Hollow. It shakes my faith in humanity. The slow parts were sooo dull. The fast parts were sooo bogus. What's to like? I mean, the headless horseman as Batman? Give me a break.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Sandy, what can I say? Tim Burton makes (on occasion) the movies I would if I had the talent, and I find the look of the film nearly hypnotic. Hell, that cast alone sells it for me. Getting to watch Michael Gough and Michael Gambon in one movie? That Christopher Lee cameo? Hell, even Casper Van Dien is OK. Wow.

Now, if somebody told me they loved The Brothers Grimm...

 
At 10:59 AM, Blogger Jessica R. said...

I loved The Brothers Grimm...back when it was called In the Company of Wolves.

 

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