The Wolfman

When the moon is full, the legend comes to life

Emily as: Gwen Conliffe
Genre(s): Fantasy | Drama | Horror
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker, David Self
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Other Cast: Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, Geraldine Chaplin
Release Date: February 12, 2010
Production Budget: $150m
Total Worldwide Gross: $139.7m
Filming Locations: Wiltshire, England, UK and Derbyshire, England, UK

Inspired by the classic Universal film that launched a legacy of horror, The Wolfman brings the myth of a cursed man back to its legendary origins. Benicio del Toro (Che, Traffic) stars as Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father, Academy Award® winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal), Talbot sets out to find his brother… and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself.

Lawrence Talbot’s childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother’s fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt of The Young Victoria, The Devil Wears Prada), tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving, The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix trilogies) has come to investigate.

As Talbot 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 of ending the slaughter and protecting the woman he has grown to love, Talbot must destroy the vicious creature in the woods surrounding Blackmoor. But after he is bitten by the nightmarish beast, a simple man with a tortured past will uncover a primal side of himself… one he never imagined existed.

Production Facts

  • Inspector Francis Abberline is based on Frederick Abberline, a Scotland Yard Inspector that investigated London’s Jack the Ripper murders in 1888, a case which is alluded to in the film.
  • Benicio del Toro’s Wolfman make-up took approximately 3 hours to apply and 1 hour to remove.
  • Marked the second remake of a Universal monster movie involving Anthony Hopkins. His first was Francis Ford Coppola’s remake of Bram Stoker’s Dracula as vampire hunter Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
  • Benicio del Toro’s Wolfman make-up took approximately 3 hours to apply and 1 hour to remove.
  • The production stalled numerous times, with various screenwriters, directors and composers exiting the film at various stages of its pre-production. It eventually began filming in March of 2008, two years after first being announced by Universal. The release date was set for February 2009, but was pushed back to November, before finally making its theatrical debut in February 2010.
  • Joe Johnston signed on to make the film just a month ahead of principal photography. This late start was one of the main reasons why he employed CGI in the werewolf transformations as there simply wasn’t time to design new make-up effects.
  • This is Benicio del Toro’s second time playing a “wolfman”. His very first feature film role was that of a “dog-faced boy” in Pee Wee Herman’s Big Top Pee-wee. Both films had music scored by Danny Elfman, and were slammed by critics as weaker imitations of earlier films.
  • Among the numerous directors in line to take up the position after Mark Romanek’s departure were Brett Ratner, Frank Darabont, James Mangold, Bill Condon, Martin Campbell and, the ultimate choice, Joe Johnston.
  • Danny Elfman was the original composer on the film and recorded a complete score inspired by Wojciech Kilar’s score for Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. His score was rejected as it did not fit the new tone of the film after several re-shoots and delays. Paul Haslinger was supposed to replace him, but Universal pulled the plug on that, and decided to re-instate Elfman’s gothic score.
  • The way Sir John plays the harmonica while walking through the halls of the asylum was Anthony Hopkins’ idea.
  • The extended cut of the film begins with the Universal Pictures logo that was being used in 1941, when the original The Wolf Man was released, but the original fanfare theme is not heard.
  • Benicio del Toro is a huge fan of the original film, and remained attached to the remake ever since it was first announced in 2006 and passed through the hands of several directors.
  • Character Quotes

  • I’m Gwen Conliffe, Ben’s fiancée. I’m writing to inform you of your brother’s disappearance. He has been missing now for several weeks and we fear the worst. It has come to my attention that you are currently here in England with your theater company, but that you return to America soon. I understand that you have not spoken to your family in many years, but I implore you to help us find Ben. Please come home to Talbot Hall.
  • It must be a wonderful luxury, doing battle with imaginary demons, Mr. Talbot. Mine right now are very real.
  • You know, you mustn’t listen to them. The villagers. They’re backward and foolish. Everything I hate about this place.
  • If such things exist, if they are possible, then everything is. Magic. And God.
  • Look at me. Lawrence, you know me. You know me, remember me, look at me. It’s Gwen. Lawrence, it’s Gwen. Please.
  • It is said there is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man. But where does one begin and the other end?
  • I’m just haunted by this feeling that I’m responsible for all of this.
  • Gwen: Ben said that you played here as children.
    Lawrence: It was our refuge.
    Gwen: From what?
    Lawrence: You mean from whom.
    Gwen: Your father, he has a way with being distant. Ben told me it was because I reminded him of your mother. He said you did, as well.
  • Lawrence: I thought you were leaving.
    Gwen: Well, this place is impossible to escape.
  • Gwen: Lawrence Talbot. You know what happened to him. You understand it. Listen to me. I need you to help me.
    Maleva: Leave him to his fate.
    Gwen: I have to save him.
    Maleva: Do you love him?
    Gwen: Just tell me what to do.
    Maleva: Will you condemn him? Or will you set him free? Do you know what that means?
    Gwen: Yes. But I can’t do that. He’s still there. I know he is. I know I can save him.
  • Quoting: Emily Blunt

    On her character: I like that in the face of adversity, as someone who has met a whirlwind of turmoil, fear and loss, Gwen has the ability to see the possibility for change. She’s very hopeful.

    On the tone of the film: Well, the three of us sat down… Anthony, Benicio and I… and Anthony Hopkins is the one who said it. He was, like, “Let’s just submarine everything. Let’s just suppress everything,” and we all kind of took our cue from him. We just wanted to make sure that the scenes had real truths to them and, yeah, that they seemed grounded. I didn’t want to buy into the whole melodrama of doing a horror movie. I don’t think that always works. I think it’s better to add to the suspense. You should keep everything else very truthful and grounded.

    On the film’s themes: We desire that loss of control and the ability to change and we can’t let go of it. And it’s that kind of desire to understand the dark side in us.

    On Gwen and Lawrence’s relationship: We desire what we shouldn’t. I think that’s human nature. But they’re both suffering. They’re kind of the only ones who extend their hands to each other, offering some kind of solace or some kind of help. There’s a darkness there and a wildness to him that she’s never touched on with her relationships with anyone else in her life, and there’s a danger to him that she recognizes in herself.

    On Gwen and Lawrence’s relationship: I don’t think she recognizes the primal beast. I think that she’s quite a scientific girl. So, when village gossip ruled the world as it did in Victorian times, she was probably the one studying Darwin. That’s when all of Darwin’s theories were coming out. She always saw the man. You can’t help who you’re attracted to. I don’t know if chemistry or attraction is something you can ever crunch numbers on. It’s a rather ethereal thing. You’re either attracted to someone or you’re not. And because she was so helpless in being able to save her fiancé, and she could do nothing, it became her mission to do something for this man who was in hell. She could see that he was in hell. He was tormented. He was actually quite a soft man and a quiet man, and I think she was more attracted to how enigmatic he was rather than this darkness dwelling within him. I don’t think she really chose to recognize that side of him while everyone else was raving about it.

    On her attraction to the role: I was drawn to the role because of who was attached to it, and I found the script very moving. It wasn’t just about violence; there was a love story and a human struggle that I was attracted to. What’s beautiful about The Wolfman is that it’s a haunting story, but it’s also a love story. Joe started off with a vision of making a classic, sweeping, huge monster movie, and he has maintained that vision throughout the shoot.

    On the wardrobe: I find the costumes quite transporting, particularly if they’re as beautiful as the ones that I’ve gotten to wear. Milena Canonero designed beautiful, exquisite costumes for this film. They were very creative, in that she incorporated a lot of animal materials into them, like furs and feathers. It was really cool, working with her. Sometimes it can be a bit restraining, but I think it’s good because, particularly with the Victorian era, you want to create those constraints for the implications of what goes on within the world to be relevant. I appreciate doing the dress-up part of it, but I also like to wear jeans and a t-shirt ‘cause then you’re really free.

    On working with Anthony Hopkins: He’s never lost his child-like enthusiasm for the play element of the job. There’s nothing jaded about Anthony, which is so refreshing, and I used to just follow him around. I just was like, “Please keep talking to me,” because he was just riveting to be around.

    On working with Benicio del Toro: He’s awesome to work with. He’s such a rare actor, in that he has a real unique approach to a scene. He’s exciting to work with ‘cause he’s quite raw and instinctual, so you don’t really know what he will do in the scene. The scene can really take shape and dance and shape shift, in some ways. I love working like that ‘cause there’s a real openness, and you need a co-star who’s going to play with you, in that way. He’s a great guy. We had a laugh on the movie. He’s a lot of fun. He’s a big teddy bear. People don’t know that.

    On working with Benicio del Toro: It’s been exciting working with him because there’s a rawness to him that’s unrivaled by most other actors out there. And I think that’s been really important for this film because with a certain genre you can veer into cliche, and he’ll reject that every time. So, there’s a purity to him playing this part, and a madness. I mean, he’s completely mad, which I like to tell him.

    Quoting: Cast and Crew

    Director Joe Johnston: Just by using her face, Emily can tell entire stories without saying a word. Whenever we found a line that we could lose, we did. Emily so powerfully tells Gwen’s story with emotion, not just words.

    Critical Response

    Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Emily Blunt? Perfect combination of Victorian restraint and sultry gazes as the fiancée of the missing brother.

    Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Blunt is fine in a limited, though ultimately crucial, role.

    James Adams, The Globe and Mail: Of the major players, only Blunt delivers a performance approximating real feeling.

    Awards and Nominations

    Below is a list of all accolades Emily has received for her role in the film.

    NOMINATED: Scream Awards – Best Horror Actress