The Wolf Man

Dec. 30, 2010 | 12:05 p.m.

Anthony Hopkins at 73: Happy birthday, Hannibal

Hannibal
It’s surprising that no savvy producer has cast Anthony Hopkins, who turns 73 on Friday, for the dual lead role in a new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” because few actors have been able to alternate between stately intellect and brutal villainy with the sort of flair that the Welsh star  has brought to cinema. There’s the proper side of Hopkins who has appeared in veddy British films such as the Merchant/Ivory classics “Howards End” in 1992 and “Remains of the Day” in 1993  or as American president John Quincy Adams in Steven Spielberg’s 1997 epic “Amistad.” But he’s enjoyed perhaps more acclaim playing monsters, whether they be real – Adolf Hitler in the 1981 CBS movie “The Bunker” — or imagined, such as the brilliant cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a role that won him the lead actor Oscar for 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs.” […]
June 08, 2010 | 7:07 p.m.

Rick Baker’s ‘Wolfman’ regrets: ‘I hoped it would bring back monster movies’

FIVE QUESTIONS: RICK BAKER Make-up pioneer Rick Baker is a six-time Oscar winner for his movie magic in films such as “An American Werewolf in London,” “Ed Wood,” “Men in Black“ and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” but there were few projects in his illustrious career that got him more excited than the remake of “The Wolfman,” which has just hit stores on Blu-ray and DVD. I caught up with the 59-year-old film make-up wizard to talk about the legacy of the werewolf project, the disappointment that came with the film’s sour reception and his plans for the future. You can also read more about make-up and visual effects in our WIZARDS OF HOLLYWOOD series.      GB: There are certain characters and films that carry a special resonance with them and I would imagine in your area of specialty, the Wolf Man has to […]
Feb. 18, 2010 | 7:01 p.m.

‘The Wolfman’ and the secrets of torture tech

SCENE STEALER Patrick Kevin Day talked to production designer Rick Heinrichs about the creepy-cool look of the Victorian-era werewolf movie, “The Wolfman,” and the bizarre “mental health” devices of the time. You can read his previous Scene Stealer interviews and Liesl Bradner’s Wizards of Hollywood series right here. Lawrence Talbot’s (Benicio Del Toro) stay in a mental asylum in “The Wolfman” is short, but quite memorable, thanks to the ghoulish therapy devices created by production designer Rick Heinrichs. One of the most notable is the dunking chair that functions like a Victorian-era waterboarding torture. The hand-cranked chair (actually controlled by a motor) is tipped backward into a pool of freezing water using gears Heinrichs and crew salvaged from the controls of a sluice gate. “They were experimenting at the time with mental illness and trying almost medieval treatment methods using […]
Feb. 12, 2010 | 10:38 p.m.

Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth howled for ‘Wolfman’ sound effects

Mark Salisbury, a writer based in Britain (whose blog is right here), makes a guest appearance on the Hero Complex and will be writing more in the future. Today it’s a somewhat startling revelation that two of the classic rock era’s most eccentric frontmen lent their voices to “The Wolfman,” the Universal horror film that opens today. Mark interviewed Joe Johnston, the director of the movie, and here’s what the filmmaker revealed. MS: Is it true that KISS singer Gene Simmons is the voice of the Wolfman? JJ: It’s partly true. Gene Simmons came in and did some howls for us that were amazing. He has this amazing voice and range and sustainability. He did these howls that went on and on and on, and we kept thinking he’s got to run out of breath any second, but he’s got this […]
Feb. 11, 2010 | 6:48 p.m.

Anthony Hopkins on the secret of his spooky success: ‘I like to act like a submarine’

Anthony Hopkins is back in scary-movie mode with “The Wolfman” and the actor who was once voted the best villain in film history says he’s not really sure why he has become an icon in shadowy genres of cinema. “I don’t know what it is, truthfully,” the 72-year-old actor said of his on-screen menace. “I think part of it is being still and all that. I don’t know. I like to kind of come in at the side door. I like to act like a submarine; just don’t do much and just let it evolve. It’s resisting the urge to push the envelope. It’s very difficult for an actor to avoid, you want to show a bit. But I think the less one shows the better.” Hopkins won an Oscar for his role as Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs,” which […]
Feb. 10, 2010 | 6:09 p.m.

‘The Wolfman’ claws its way to theaters despite a cursed production

This is a longer version of my story from the front page of today’s Calendar section in the Los Angeles Times. Forget silver bullets, blooming wolf’s bane and full-moon fever — the real curse of “The Wolfman” was all the hard luck that the Universal Pictures release had to claw through to reach the screen Friday. The old-school monster revival, which stars Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, arrives after enduring a late change in director, three release-date postponements and a major reworking in the edit bay. The strange thing, though, at least according to director Joe Johnston, is that somehow the film underwent a startling metamorphosis in the final cut. “I think it’s turned into a film that is much, much better than the studio or probably anyone else expected,” the filmmaker said while sitting down for lunch at […]
Feb. 04, 2010 | 12:17 a.m.

‘The Wolf Man,’ the Hollywood history of a howling success

Susan King is back on the Hero Complex with a great piece today about “The Wolf Man,” the 1941 classic that has been updated with a new version that is due in theaters Feb. 12. Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. – Curt Siodmak, “The Wolf Man” Screenwriter Curt Siodmak was a German Jew of Polish descent who fled Europe for Hollywood in the 1930s to escape persecution from the Nazis. So there’s little wonder that his 1941 Universal horror classic “The Wolf Man” parallels the experiences of Jews in Europe before and during World War II. “The Wolf Man” revolves around an everyman, Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who arrives at his father’s mansion in England after […]
July 29, 2009 | 1:57 a.m.

‘The Wolf Man’ pushed to 2010 — are things getting hairy for the film?

One of the conspicuous absences at Comic-Con International this year was “The Wolf Man,” the Universal monster film that hits theaters on Nov. 6…or does it? The film starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Anthony Hopkins just got postponed to Feb. 12, 2010. Some reports suggest that Universal wants a bit of space between its supernatural thriller and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” which opens on Nov. 20 with its own brand of snarling werewolves. That sounds like fuzzy logic to me: If the R-rated “Wolf Man” had two weeks on its own at theaters to win over moviegoers, why worry about a vampire film that is aimed at much younger film fans? This a film that is going to have to claw its way to credibility from its first day of release. The director is Joe Johnston (“Jurassic Park III,” “Jumanji“) but he came into […]
July 20, 2009 | 6:30 p.m.

The clawing appeal of werewolves — there’s something about hairy

Linton Weeks has an article over at NPR about the full-moon fever for werewolves these days. Here’s an excerpt of the lengthy piece that goes on to analyze the paw prints of this pop-culture stirring. (Note: We added the links…) Seen The New York Times best-seller list lately? It’s awash with werecreatures — half-human, half-beast thingies. There are weretigers in Laurell K. Hamilton’s novel Skin Trade. And a werepanther in Charlaine Harris’s novel Dead and Gone. Werethings are showing up everywhere. There’s [“The Wolf Man“] movie in the works starring Benicio Del Toro. And word of a remake of John Landis’ 1981 movie “An American Werewolf in London.” A new series on BBC America premiering in July features a weresomething-or-other. Even the United States Senate is worrying about werecreatures. More on that in a sec. But first: Where in the world […]
Feb. 10, 2009 | 10:29 p.m.

On this Date: Lon Chaney Jr. born in 1906

It was 103 years ago today that Creighton Tull Chaney – who would be better known to the world as Lon Chaney Jr. — was born in Oklahoma City. For years it appeared that the younger Chaney would follow a different career path than his world-famous acting father (the son secured a business degree and as a young man was a success as an executive with an appliance corporation in Los Angeles) but two years after the elder Chaney died in 1930, his son began appearing in films. His big breakthrough was opposite Burgress Meredith in "Of Mice and Men" in 1939  but it was the 1941 feature "The Wolf Man" that set the defining tone for his career. Here he is tussling with Claude Rains in the fog… He wore the famous fur in four more movies and also […]
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