The Wolfman is a 2010 American remake of the 1941 classic werewolf horror film of the same name. This film's second half was significantly altered and expanded from the original film's plot. Directed by Joe Johnston, the film stars Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving. It was released in the United States on February 12, 2010.
While receiving mostly mixed critical reviews and failing to make back its budget at the box office, the movie won an Academy Award for Best Makeup.
Plot[edit | edit source]
In 1891, Ben Talbot is confronted by an unknown creature in the Blackmoor woods. He tries to escape, but is attacked, chased and killed by the beast.
Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), Ben's fiancée, has contacted his brother, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro), the world-renowned Shakespearean actor, saying that Ben disappeared a month ago. Lawrence leaves his theatre tour to return to his family's estate in Blackmoor where he has an uneasy reunion with his estranged father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). Ben's body, found the day before, has been stored at a slaughterhouse. When Lawrence views his brother's remains, he is horrified; the body is completely mauled. Among Ben's personal effects is a medallion that Ben apparently purchased from gypsies. Later at the local pub, Lawrence overhears the locals discussing the killing. Many blame the gypsies who are camped outside the town, while another patron claims there was a similar murder several decades earlier, and a werewolf was the suspected killer.
That night, Lawrence has flashbacks as he tours his old family's home. It is revealed that his mother, Solana, had committed suicide when he was a boy. Lawrence saw his father standing over her dead body, after which he was sent to an insane asylum in London, ostensibly for suffering delusions.
After Gwen returns to London, Lawrence visits the gypsies during a full moon. The local townspeople then raid the camp to confiscate a dancing bear they believe is the killer. But a creature suddenly attacks, slaughtering many people. While chasing a frightened young boy (Oliver Adams) who has run into the woods, Lawrence is savagely bitten by the creature. The townspeople chase it off with gunshots. As a gypsy woman named Maleva (Geraldine Chaplin) sutures his neck wounds, her daughter insists Lawrence should be killed before he destroys other lives. Maleva refuses, saying he is still a man and that only a loved one can release him.
Gwen returns to Talbot Hall to care for Lawrence. He suffers several fitful dreams, but after a few weeks, appears to have completely recovered. Sir John Talbot's servant, Singh (Art Malik), shows Lawrence the silver bullets he has and implies that something monstrous is loose in Blackmoor. Inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) arrives to investigate the recent murders. He suspects Lawrence is responsible based on his mental history and masterful portrayals of mentally-ill protagonists such as Prince Hamlet and Macbeth. As the night draws near, several hunters from the town take position in the woods, waiting for the beast to appear so they may capture it. Worried about what might happen, Lawrence sends Gwen away. He then follows Sir John Talbot to Solana's crypt who tells him that he has been "dead" for years, then locks himself in the room alone. Lawrence then undergoes a very painful transformation into the Wolfman before running off into the woods and killing the hunters stationed there. The next day, Aberline and the local police arrest a bloodied, frantic, now-human Lawrence, while his father whispers, "Be strong, Lawrence" with a sly smile.
Taken to the same asylum he was committed to as a child, Lawrence is subjected to ice-water and electrotherapy treatments overseen by Dr. Hoenneger (Antony Sher). Sir John visits Lawrence and explains that many years before while hunting in India, he was bitten by a feral boy infected with lycanthropy. Lawrence realises that he saw his father, as a werewolf, kill his mother. After that tragedy, Sir John Talbot had relied on Singh to imprison him during full moons. Yet one night, Sir John Talbot became drunk and got into a heated argument with Ben. Having knocked Singh out and unable to lock himself in, Sir John killed Ben and attacked the gypsy camp. Now intoxicated by the werewolf's immense power, Sir John no longer intends to restrain that potency and wishes to let the beast run free.
On the night of the full moon, Dr. Hoenneger presents Lawrence, strapped in a chair, to his colleagues as an interesting case study. He tries to explain to Lawrence that it is his imagination that he will turn into a werewolf. Lawrence tries to warn Dr. Hoenneger but he goes on with his lecture. As the full moon streams through the window, Lawrence (in severe pain) transforms into a werewolf, breaks loose and kills Hoenneger. Pursued by Aberline, the Wolfman then goes on a bloody rampage in the streets of London. The next day, the now-human Lawrence goes to Gwen's antique shop for help. The two realise they are falling in love and share a passionate kiss. Aberline arrives and searches the shop, but Lawrence has already escaped and returned to Blackmoor.
Lawrence arrives at Talbot Hall and finds Singh's mutilated body hanging in the foyer. He loads a gun with Singh's silver bullets, but when he attempts to shoot Sir John, he discovers that Sir John had secretly removed the powder from the cartridges years ago. When the full moon rises, both transform into werewolves. A vicious fight erupts, Lawrence is badly hurt, and the house is set on fire. Lawrence, after throwing his father in the firepit, kills his father. Gwen arrives hoping to save Lawrence, followed by Aberline, who attempts to shoot the Wolfman. Gwen disrupts the shot and then flees with Aberline's revolver. The Wolfman bites Aberline who tries to stop him from going after Gwen but is too weak, so the Wolfman chases Gwen rather than finish Aberline off.
The Wolfman traps Gwen above a gorge. She pleads with Lawrence, whose consciousness faintly recognises her. As he hesitates, the hunters approach and the Wolfman turns to look at them. Meanwhile Gwen picks up the revolver and shoots him with a silver bullet. The Wolfman slumps down weakly and reaches out to grab Gwen's hand. Startled, she shrieks, yet realizes his hand, arm, face and whole body is turning back human. As he lies dying, Lawrence thanks Gwen for doing what needed to be done. The wounded Aberline arrives (carrying the wolf cane Lawrence first had), along with the mob of Hunters, as Lawrence dies in peace.
Aberline and Gwen look with horror at the bite wound in his shoulder and then at the moon and realise what will be his inevitable fate. As Talbot Hall burns in the distance, the Wolfman's howl is heard once more, implying Aberline is now a werewolf
Production[edit | edit source]
In March 2006, Universal Pictures announced the remake of The Wolf Man with actor Benicio del Toro, a fan of the original and collector of Wolf Man memorabilia, in the lead role. Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker was attached to the screenplay, developing the original film's story to include additional characters as well as plot points that would take advantage of modern visual effects. Del Toro also looked towards Werewolf of London and The Curse of the Werewolf for inspiration.
In February 2007, director Mark Romanek was attached to helm The Wolfman. In January 2008, Romanek left the project because of creative differences. Brett Ratner emerged as a frontrunner to replace Romanek, but the studio also met with Frank Darabont, James Mangold and Joe Johnston. They were also interested in Bill Condon and Martin Campbell was interested. Johnston was hired to direct on 3 February 2008, and the film's shooting schedule and budget remained as intended. Johnston hired David Self to rewrite the script.
Shooting took place from 3 March to 23 June 2008, in Britain. At that time the film was budgeted at US$85 million. They shot at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, Chatsworth in Derbyshire and Castle Combe in Wiltshire. They transformed Chatsworth House by adding weeds, dead grass and ivy. They also shot in Lacock in Wiltshire, a village conserved by the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, for a day. Universal donated £5,000 to the village, in return for filming in the tithe barn for a scene involving frozen corpses. A funeral scene was also shot beside the Temple of Ancient Virtue at Stowe House, with the temple coated in false ivy and copious amounts of smoke/mist floating over the setting. There was also scenes filmed on Dartmoor, Devon at Foggintor Quarry. Pick-ups at Pinewood were conducted in May 2009.
Rick Baker created the make-up for The Wolfman. When he heard Universal was remaking the film, he eagerly pursued it, as both The Wolf Man and Frankenstein inspired him to become a make-up artist as a child. He acknowledged transforming del Toro was not difficult because he is a hairy man: "Going from Benicio to Benicio as the Wolf Man isn't a really extreme difference. Like when I did An American Werewolf in London, we went from this naked man to a four-legged hound from Hell, and we had a lot of room to go from the transformation and do a lot of really extreme things. Here we have Benicio del Toro, who's practically the Wolf Man already, to Benicio del Toro with more hair and bigger teeth."
Baker and del Toro were adamant about the design resembling the make-up created by Jack Pierce, but Romanek went through thousands of concept art. When Johnston signed on, Baker returned to his second design, which is the finished result. The make-up took three hours to apply, and one hour to remove. New pieces of latex prosthetic makeup and loose hair was applied to del Toro's face each day, while several dentures and wigs were created in case some were damaged. Baker said the transformation would likely be computer-generated, which disappointed him as he would not be involved and felt it would look unrealistic (as the animators did not have his knowledge of the design). Director Joe Johnston explained that joining the film three weeks before photography placed limitations on his ability to film without using CG effects. He has stated, “I recognised that there were things that I was going to be able to do from the beginning to the end. and things that I had to rely on post-production for”. In reference to filming Benicio del Toro's actual transformation into the Wolfman, Johnston further explained, “I decided to basically shoot just Benicio, in the sequence where. he transforms. and decide in post-production what I wanted the transformation to be. That was really my main reason [for using CG]; it gave me so much more flexibility.”  In February 2009, ZBrush art of the transformation by Baker leaked online. In addition to the film, at the 2009 Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Florida added The Wolfman to the event.