Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Wolfman. Captain America. And me.

Fangoria has posted the beginning of my cover story on The Wolfman on their website, a couple of hundred words about the movie which also contain some exclusive news pertaining to the start date for director Joe Johnston's next film, The First Avenger: Captain America, news that has made it onto a great number of movie websites and gotten a whole lot of people very excited indeed.

The full article is published next month. Here's the teaser...

The beast is back, and he’s staring FANGORIA right in the eye. It’s May 2008, and the end of a long day at England’s Pinewood Studios, where your correspondent has been given a tantalizing behind-the-scenes tour of Universal’s latest attempt to mine its classic horror back catalog, following the successful revamp of THE MUMMY. After visiting various sets and interviewing some of the cast and crew of THE WOLFMAN, we have decamped to a windowless room to chat with makeup legend Rick Baker about the task of turning star Benicio Del Toro into the eponymous monster.

Midway through our chat, the lights go out, plunging the room into total darkness. “Stay calm,” instructs the film’s unit publicist, “it’s just a problem with the fuse.” But something is afoot. Suddenly, there’s movement at a door, and a large shape enters the room. As our eyes become accustomed to the gloom, Fango can make out the silhouette of a 7-foot-plus Wolfman, chowing down on a severed arm. As the lights come back up, this growling, slavering, hirsute beast bounds over and puts his snarling, fanged-filled face within inches of our own. And roars…


Fango isn’t scared. OK, that’s a lie. We’re bloody terrified, although we’re doing a good job of not showing it. But staring down the Wolfman (actually stuntman Spencer Wilding behind all the makeup) ain’t easy. Soon, the creature has had enough of trying to terrify this horror scribe and rushes out of the room. There’s a beat, followed by a collective sigh of relief and a round of applause from everyone present. After your correspondent gets his breath back, everyone agrees that if THE WOLFMAN (opening February 12) can capture even a fraction of that impact, it’s going to be a damn scary film.

From the moment THE WOLFMAN was announced, excitement was high. Originally calling the shots was Mark Romanek, a music video veteran and writer/director of the sleeper ONE HOUR PHOTO, with Baker, the multi-Oscar-winning FX legend behind AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, hired to transform Del Toro into the titular monster. Next, Anthony Hopkins (who previously revisited a Universal staple in BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA), Emily (WIND CHILL) Blunt and the MATRIX films’ Hugo Weaving joined the cast. Sets were built in Britain. But then, trouble struck: Romanek ankled the production a month before filming was to begin, citing creative differences, leaving the studio scrambling to replace him before the project fell apart.

“That was a tough one, man,” Del Toro says of Romanek’s departure. “He had his vision and his thing, and at some point we didn’t have the movie.”

Various names were mentioned as Romanek’s replacement, among them John Landis, Frank Darabont and CASINO ROYALE’s Martin Campbell, but it was Joe Johnston, director of JURASSIC PARK III and THE ROCKETEER, who got the nod. The clock, however, was ticking. Principal photography was now less than four weeks away. “By the time I got on a plane and arrived, it was three,” recalls Johnston, speaking from the art department of THE FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA, which he’s readying for a June start. “But at that point, what kind of difference can a week make?”

For the whole story, buy FANGORIA #290, on-stands January 19th.

6 comments:

J.D. said...

Any truth to the rumor that Baker's work has largely been replaced by CGI? I thought I read somewhere that this was the case. I really hope this is not true as I love Baker's work.

Mark Salisbury said...

Once Del Toro's the Wolfman it's all Baker's makeup. But the transformation is all CG.

J.D. said...

This is a bummer.

Mark Salisbury said...

Baker says that if he'd been given the transformation he would have used some CG in it.

lewismcelroy said...

I'm sorry but this is all untrue. Spencer wilding who actually played the wolfman is a close friend of mine and I am witness to the make up and prosthetics. The only cgi is on the mouth to make it open larger and sometimes del toros eyes are put in on close ups. It took nearly 4 hours for spencer to get in the suit, it's all him

Cialis said...

I hope to watch Captain America returns as soon as possible, because the comics industry is not the same one without him.