John Landis‘ horror masterpiece American Werewolf in London won an Acadamy Award in 1981 for Rick Baker‘s makeup work, most notably the famous scene in which David Naughton transforms into a werewolf. What was accomplished nearly 40 years ago was unprecedented and the staple for our beloved genre. The bar has been raised so high it’s hard to overcome it but Max Landis, John’s son who has worked his way into Hollywood notoriety, hopes to achieve this with the forthcoming remake.
We broke the new last August that Max would be directing a remake of his father’s movie, which was confirmed a few months later adding that he would also be penning his own screenplay. It’s a ballsy move that’s really setting Max up for failure, although he’s proven to be a confident talent who can handle the criticism. The biggest challenge for him will be topping the legendary transformation sequence of which no filmmakers have ever accomplished. Will he be the one to do it? He’s surely going to try.
In an interview with Rugged Man Podcast, Max spoke about the effects in his planned reboot and how there will be a blend of both practical and CGI.
“The thing I would do with CGI, were I directing this film, would be leg movement, and I would have the entire wolf’s face, back, and body be practical, and then I would fully CGI the legs for organic movements. If you remake American Werewolf and the transformation scene isn’t practical, you have fu*ked up.”
I sort of hate that he even has to explain himself here because it’s more than obvious that with modern technology the plan would be to mix practical and CGI work. It happens way more than horror fans even realize because what people don’t realize is, you only notice when CGI is bad.Quality work is unnoticeable and can help elevate a scene in believability when done correctly. Landis is being honest here and acknowledging the importance of keeping as much as possible practical but lets us all know there will also be CGI utilized.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s been a year and there have been no new developments. It’s possible it never even happens. Max speaks on this:
“We’ll see if I can do it. We’ll see if I can pull it off. We’ll see if they even make it. My goal is I feel like all of the best remakes focus on one thing in the original movie, take a lot of the images of the original and then remix that really tightly. With American Werewolf I’m doing that, but I’m also just gonna try and do American Werewolf as best I can. We’ll see. I can’t make no promises.”
Robert Kirkman and David Alpert, both producers on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, will be producing this remake through their Skybound Entertainment banner. John Landis himself will be acting as an executive producer.
Max Landis wrote the 2012 superhero thriller Chronicle, as well as Victor Frankenstein, and is an executive producer on Syfy’s “Channel Zero”.