Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

Andrew Kevin Walker to Remake The Wolfman

Add The Wolfman to the list of Universal Pictures' classic 1930s horror films being remade within the last 15 years (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy). This one could be interesting. Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) has reportedly signed on to co-produce, as well as step into Lon Chaney Jr.'s shoes, in a new version of the classic werewolf film, being written by none other than Andrew Kevin Walker (screenwriter of Se7en, 8mm, and Sleepy Hollow, among others). The Universal horror film remakes of recent years have been spotty at best. While Francis Ford Coppola's take on Dracula was interesting, from a purely technical, cinematic standpoint, its tragic, romanticized approach didn't illicit the pathos for the vampire I believe Coppola was attempting to achieve. Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein redo (with Robert DeNiro as the monster!) was simply a misguided mess; and The Mummy franchise (while wildly successful at the boxoffice) owes more to the Spielberg/Lucas Indiana Jones series than it does to the Boris Karloff original. However, with The Wolfman, screenwriter Walker can inject his own respected brand of cinematic psychology -- namely, that evil happens for no explainable reason -- and explore, in a meaningful way, the darker side of man's nature here. Compare this classic line from the original Wolfman: "Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night can become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the moon is full and bright," to these lines from Walker's Se7en script: "Just know that in this case there's not going to be any satisfaction. If we caught John Doe and he were the devil himself, if it turned out he were actually Satan, then, that might live up to our expectations. No human being could do these things, right? But, this is not the devil. It's just a man." These are essentially the same point. I think it's a brilliant idea to filter The Wolfman through Walker's sensibilities. The results, especially with an actor of Del Toro's ability interpreting them, could be something special indeed. Might six-time Oscar winning make up master Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London) be considered for the project as well? The film is scheduled for 2008 release.

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