Wolf Man Replacement Director Named - Joe Johnston
Earlier this week we ran a report that director Mark Romanek had dropped out of The Wolf Man due to "creative differences." Now after plenty of rumors and studio debate, Joe Johnston has been confirmed as the replacement director on Wolf Man. Johnston is the director who previously worked on Jumanji, Jurassic Park III, and Hidalgo. While he's not the worst choice (that might have been Brett Ratner), I'm still not sure that The Wolf Man will turn out that great.
Wolf Man is being produced by Universal Studios with a budget of around $85 million. This Wolf Man adaptation was written by Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en, Sleepy Hollow) and apparently has some frightening new twists from the original version from 1941 that include several new characters and plot points to take advantage of new visual effects technology. Special effects maven Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, Men in Black, X-Men, Hellboy) is attached to the film. Benicio Del Toro will star as the lead character Lawrence Talbot and Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt will also star.
I don't know why everyone is getting all hyped about this. Since Wednesday when the news about Romanek leaving first hit, there was a new rumor every single day about a new director "going in" to talk about directing. Everyone from Frank Darabont to Brett Ratner to James Mangold to John Landis were mentioned, and it seems like the only thing everyone was caring about was who was going to get the job. I hate to be pessimistic, but a last-minute replacement director can NOT be a good thing. Need I mention X-Men 3? Sure this isn't Brett Ratner (thank god), but this whole thing seems doomed from the start. I don't think it's going to turn out good either way, even with Joe Johnston.
The Wolf Man is currently set for release on February 13th, 2009. Ain't It Cool News takes original credit for confirming this news, although Variety followed it up as well. I'll still hope for the best come February 2009, but right now it's not looking too good. Universal, you're welcome to bring me on set and prove me otherwise!