Hugo Weaving Joins Del Toro's Wolf Man

February 22, 2008
Source: Variety

Hugo WeavingAfter a three year lapse, Hugo Weaving will return to the big screen in the remake of The Wolf Man. Hugo's last movie where he actually appeared was V for Vendetta in 2006, although he also voiced Megatron in Transformers from last year and Noah the Elder in Happy Feet in 2006, but both of those were only voice acting roles (although one could claim the same for V for Vendetta as well). The Wolf Man is a remake of the classic 1941 Universal monster movie that will star Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot, Anthony Hopkins as his dad Sir John Talbot, and Emily Blunt as the female lead. Weaving joins the cast as Detective Aberline and will start filming next month in London for a February 2009 release.

The film has actually gone through a number of development issues, including the original director, Mark Romanek, leaving just weeks before production was slated to begin due to "creative differences". Joe Johnston (Jumanji, Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo) stepped up and will fill in for Romanek instead. The original script was written by Andrew Kevin Walker but was recently rewritten by David Self (The Haunting, Thirteen Days, Road to Perdition). The budget is reported to be around $85 million and special effects maven Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, Men in Black, X-Men) is attached to the film as well.

There is no Det. Aberline in the original 1941 Wolf Man, but after doing some research I discovered there was a real life Abberline who was the Chief Inspector for the London Police in the late 1800's. He was actually one of the prominent detectives involved in the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888. My guess (read: unconfirmed suspicion) is that this new contemporary script features a modern day Detective Aberline who investigates the case of Lawrence Talbot, aka the Wolf Man. Early reports on Walker's script said that this version apparently has some frightening new twists from the original that includes several new characters, hence Detective Aberline, and plot points to take advantage of new visual effects technology.

To me, Hugo Weaving is somewhat like Daniel Day-Lewis (who is a shoo-in for the Oscar on Sunday). What I mean is that he takes on a very limited number of roles, but in each one he delivers an absolutely stunning and unforgettable performance. Just think of Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy or Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy or V in V for Vendetta. He's an amazing actor and I mean that with true sincerity. I'm wondering whether this means The Wolf Man may actually be good, because now that he is a part of it, it's guaranteed that he'll be one of the best aspects of the remake. Can Joe Johnston really pull it off, even with Weaving involved now, too?

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1 Comment


V for Vendetta was not, empahtically not, just a "voice role" for Hugo Weaving. Though his face is never seen except when V disguises himself as other characters, Weaving appears in all of V's dialogue scenes. The stunts were performed by David Leitch, but it's standard procedure for stuntmen to be used in action films. Rumors to the effect that James Purefoy, whom Weaving replaced as V, still appears in many scenes are false...his one remaning physical appearance is in V's opening scene, which has no dialogue. It's also a bit deceptive to imply Hugo Weaving isn't in many films...he's just not in many big budget Hollywood films. His resume is actually quite lengthy, but he prefers to work on small Australian films and in theatre...none of that gets the coverage it deserves. Daniel Day-Lewis is indeed highly selective and only appears in projects that appeal to him every few years...I admire both actors but stylistically they're quite different. Though the idea of a remake/update of The Wolf Man might be fun, I have to say this director worries me too. Yes, I did sit through Jurassic Park 3. The combination of scriptwriters could be interesting--Self is more refined and Walker more visceral--each could balance the other's excesses. The other cast members are promising choices too, though Anthony Hopkins has appeared in a number of atrocious films and he tends to ham it up when he's got a bad script. The only really terrible film Weaving's done in recent years (ie when he didn't need the money) was Transformers, and I'm still perplexed as to why he bothered--though to be fair the "performance" was less than twenty lines of dialogue recorded over one afternoon in Sydney. The fact that Wolf Man is being shot in London rather than LA might also be a factor in Weaving's decision to join the cast...his dislike of LA is well reported.

Crowjane29 on Feb 22, 2008

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