Friday, February 1, 2008
WHO WILL DIRECT THE WOLFMAN?
So according to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal execs are talking with James Mangold (WALK THE LINE, 3:10 TO YUMA), Frank Darabont (SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE MIST), Brett Ratner (X-3, RUSH HOUR 1-3), Joe Johnston (JURASSIC PARK 3, HIDALGO) and Bill Condon (GODS AND MONSTERS, DREAMGIRLS) about taking over the director's chair of their $100 million THE WOLFMAN after Mark Romanek (ONE HOUR PHOTO) exited the project. Benicio Del Toro is still attached to play the hairy man-beast, and Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt will appear in supporting roles. Apparently, Universal is leaning towards Ratner, aka Hack-ner; if this happens, color me disappointed. Ratner is the epitome of "gun-for-hire" and he brings nothing remotely exciting, either on a visual or narrative level, to any of the films he's directed. Sure, his movies have made money, but only because he's lucked into box office hits. The RUSH HOUR films made money because of the star combo (Chan and Tucker) and by the third go-round, there wasn't much gas left in the franchise. He took over X-3 after Bryan Singer left to go mess up SUPERMAN RETURNS and anyone who saw X-3 knows how that turned out---pretty flat. RED DRAGON was a Hannibal Lectre film, and while it was decent, it couldn't scratch the ass-itch of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or HANNIBAL. What I am trying to say is that Ratner is a clown, a lucky guy who is a competent enough "shooter" to get a movie completed. What a film like THE WOLFMAN needs, especially with an actor like Del Toro in the lead, is a filmmaker with a vision. Based on his work with ONE HOUR PHOTO, Romanek struck me as the perfect director for a dark horror film like THE WOLFMAN. ONE HOUR PHOTO was stylish and smart, a combination that Ratner has never really achieved. I'd personally go with Mangold or Darabont; they are both infinitely more talented with actors and dialogue and while not auteurs, have both developed a classy visual style. Darabont was last in theaters with the horror film THE MIST, a movie I heard lots of good things about, but one that I missed in theaters. The fact that THE WOLFMAN's script has been written by Andrew Kevin Walker (SEVEN, SLEEPY HOLLOW, lots of uncredited David Fincher re-writes) is also reason to expect something cerebral and creepy. From other reports I've read, it seems that the pre-production work that Romanek had comepleted would still be the basis for the film when it comes time to shoot; combined with whatever ideas the new director brings to the table, this film should be an interesting one to finally see up on the big screen.