In May 2008, writer Jeffrey Renaud visited the set of “The Wolfman” at the legendary Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire (approx. 20 miles west of Central London).
“The Wolfman,” set for release by Universal Pictures this Friday (February 12), stars Benicio del Toro as Lawrence Talbot and The Wolfman, Emily Blunt as Gwen Conliffe, Talbot’s love interest, Sir Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot, Lawrence’s father and Hugo Weaving as Francis Aberline, the Scotland Yard inspector who investigates the Wolfman murders.
Inspired by the 1941 classic, “The Wolf Man,” the Joe Johnston-directed “The Wolfman” tells the story of Lawrence who left his family home in the Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor after his mother dies and spends decades trying to forget what happened. But when his brother’s fiance, Gwen, tracks him down to help find her missing love, he returns home to join the search. Lawrence learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the residents of Blackmoor and the suspicious Inspector Aberline has come to investigate. As Lawrence pieces together the gory puzzle, he hears of an ancient curse that turns the afflicted into werewolves when the moon is full. Now, if he has any chance at ending the slaughter and protecting the woman he has grown to love, he must destroy the vicious creature in the woods surrounding Blackmoor.
During the day-long visit, the attending media was shown many of the sets used in the feature film including several present in the trailer like the expansive, if not decaying, front foyer and staircase of the Talbot’s estate house and the dunking tank and the court chambers from the “lunatic asylum.'”
Today, CBR News presents a brief conversation with del Toro and Blunt that occurred between takes of the scene where Gwen is nursing Lawrence back to health after he is savagely attacked in the woods, also seen in an earlier trailer for the film.
A champion for the project from the outset, del Toro was Wolfman-ized by multiple Academy Award-winning makeup effects artist Rick Baker (“An American Werewolf in London”).
The three-hour transformation included an “appliance” made of foam and latex that covered del Toro’s nose and brow, a wig, fang-like dentures, and additional hair affixed to his face with glue. Baker explained that the process was very similar to how Lon Chaney, Jr. would have been readied back in the 1940s.
This movie came from your desire to be in the Wolfman, didn’t it?
Benicio del Toro: Yeah, kind of. Not being in it but being a fan of those movies for a long time – all the classic Universal movies. But I don’t know how much it will be like the original, with much respect to Lon Chaney and everyone that was involved in the first one.
I’m also a fan of “Curse of the Werewolf,” and some of those other Hammer films too.
Is the makeup process really as extensive and grueling as it seems?
del Toro: Yeah. Well, you know what, a lot of people say it only takes four hours, but no one talks about how long it takes to take it off and that’s the problem. Because four hours going up the hill is kind of fun, because you see it happening. But to take it off is two hours of [screams]. So the hard part is taking it off.
Emily, are you a fan of horror movies and these types of scary movies?
Emily Blunt: I scare really easily, and I cry when I get scared and watch films like this. I did it because of these two – Tony [Anthony Hopkins] and Benicio – I always wanted to work with the two guys, so that was kind of why. I mean, why would I step into a corset again, so soon after doing the last one [“The Young Victoria”]? But I fancied doing the screaming and the running and the screaming and running, but it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun.
Benicio, would the Wolfman be your favorite of all the Universal monsters?
del Toro: When I was a kid, I was always typecast as the Wolfman. We played with my cousins, and my brother was always Frankenstein and I was the Wolfman and my one cousin was Dracula but I was always typecast as the Wolfman. That’s how it started.
Tomorrow, CBR News will present the transcript of a lengthy sit-down conversation from the set of “The Wolfman” with Sir Anthony Hopkins.