Johnston talks candidly about The Wolfman
A terrible film, rubbish and don't bother going to see it, are the statements that hit me from a friend today at work who had been to see The Wolfman. He told me not to waste my time, and so all those denied rumours and played down moments of rewrites, reshoots, and production problems have turned out to be true.
Now Joe Johnston has been talking about the production, and amazingly, while the film is still playing in the cinema and trying to earn money, he's been very candid.
Not only has he been talking about the film, but so has Mark Romanek who was originally set to direct the film but pulled out with just four weeks to go. It started the film off on a bad footing, but Romanek is equally open about it all.
”It wasn’t coming together where we were all wanting to make the same film...I wasn’t able to bring to it what I thought I could. It’s a big investment, and a big project, and I felt they should have a director who’s more in line with what they want.”
”That was tough. He had his vision, and at some point we didn’t have the movie.”
Joe Johnston then tells us that the reason the studio were looking for a new director was that Romanek couldn't complete the film in just eighty days, and he was after another twenty, something the studio just didn't want to go for, and so there was an impasse.
So that's where Johnston came in, but he reveals that once he was on board he realised that he needed a rewrite, not a complete one to change everything that had been done before, but just to make the film his own and steer it in a different direction. In the original article he was very complimentary about what Mark Romanek had done with the film to date.
He did just that and ended up with another seventeen pages, and suddenly the film was over that magic eighty days mark.
What happened then seems a little bit of a mess. Delays hit the film, then Johnston started on five weeks worth of reshoots with the action director Vic Armstrong.
”That has happened to me several times: you try and save money, and you say the movie will work without this, then you find something is lacking after you shoot, [and] you need to go back and do it.
It seems that they had thought to save money on the ending, shortening the length. That didn't work and they had to go back and reshoot it, enhancing the ending that was already there, not creating a new ending, or so Johnston insists.
“It was two versions of an ending...One was where one character died, and in the other version, the other character died. After our first preview it was clear we wanted the ending to go one way. We extended it, made it more rewarding.”
The whole article is worth a read, it does provide an insight into what happened with The Wolfman, and what can happen with many film productions. However what I still find surprising is the fact that despite knowing that a rewrite was required, that he was stuck to eighty days even before the rewrite, and knowing how Mark Romanek had struggled with the production, Joe Johnston still went ahead.
I would have thought the warning bells were there from the moment he realised the rewrite had seventeen pages involved, or even when a rewrite was needed.