As Max Landis’ remake of An American Werewolf in London slowly edges its way towards completion, Baby Driver helmsman Edgar Wright recalls how he was given the opportunity to work on this project several years ago.
Wright often hasn’t seemed comfortable tackling pre-established franchises, famously walking away from Marvel’s Ant-Man due to concerns about being a “director for hire.” So when John Landis, director of the original 1981 horror classic, approached Wright to give this remake a try, the filmmaker declined out of respect for the work he’d have to follow up.
“It was years ago. Way before Max [Landis] came onboard,” Wright told /Film. “There was no script, just the idea of doing it. John [Landis], whom I love, asked me and I said it’s a perfect movie as far as I’m concerned, and I have nothing to add to it.”
There’s no denying Wright’s affection for the original American Werewolf, with one scene in Shaun of the Dead even paying homage to the flick with its recreation of a particular character reveal involving a bathroom mirror. The same /Film article even reprints an excerpt from an older interview with Wright, in which the noted soundtrack enthusiast singled out American Werewolf’s ending as one of his favorite film music moments:
“Off the top of my head, my favorite needle drop, and I think it’s magical, is the cut to the end credits of An American Werewolf in London. Every time I watch that movie, I just think it’s the perfect, perfect ending. I don’t know how to talk about it without ruining it for someone who has never seen it. It’s such a tragic, heartbreaking ending and then a cut to black and the most upbeat, doo-wop version of “Blue Moon” by The Marcels. I remember the first time I saw it, it gave me such a rush and goosebumps. And it still does. I think it’s the greatest cut-to-black credits song ever. It sort of sums up the mischief of the movie. There’s real alchemy in that movie. It somehow manages to do everything. It’s funny and scary and heart-wrenching at the same time.”
It seems that John Landis has set a high bar for his son Max, who confessed to feeling the weight of expectations as he finished the first draft of the remake’s script last year. Sure enough, revisiting a horror classic is always going to be daunting, and there’s certainly some debate to be had over whether the writer of Bright and Victor Frankenstein is really up to the task.
Still, if Blumhouse’s Halloween can dust off an old property and successfully scare a new generation of filmgoers, maybe there’s hope still for An American Werewolf in London. Either way, stay tuned for further details as this project gradually takes shape.