An American werewolf goes back to London, this time with a number


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Before Taylor Lautner gave shirtless life to Jacob Black in “Twilight,” before Michael J. Fox got all hairy and started taking jump shots in “Teen Wolf,” David Naughton was getting lupine in London for John Landis.

The filmmaker’s’ “An American Werewolf in London” was a hit years ahead of the fashion for grafting the conventions of comedy and romance onto werewolf and vampire pictures; in fact, it some ways it gave rise to the practice.


Maybe it’s this nostalgia that’s prompting Dimension Films to develop a reboot of “An American Werewolf in London.” The Weinstein Co. division bought remake rights to the 1981 classic, which starred Naughton as a U.S. tourist who believes he’s being hunted by a werewolf, from Landis in June 2009.

Now the company is in talks with a writer, Fernley Phillips, best known for scripting Jim Carrey’s “The Number 23,” to give it a modern spin, sources say.

You can imagine fans and executives sparking to the idea of a new “Werewolf.” The name alone brings plenty of recognition, and the idea of combining a hugely popular monster genre with comedy has proved creatively fertile in recent years (see “Shaun of the Dead”).

Of course, sending up werewolves might seem redundant, what with Lautner already providing plenty of unintentional comedy. And Phillips does raise a bit of a question, as “23” was seen as a rather straightforward suspense thriller (Carrey plays a man who believes a novel is written about him) and “Werewolf” brought the comedy in bushels.

But unlike some of its genre counterparts, Dimension isn’t above slyly sending up some of the conventions of horror and monster movies, as it does in the “Scream” franchise. Landis’ version riffed at least a little on the 1935 horror flick “Werewolf of London”. And if nothing else, a new version will wash out the taste of “An American Werewolf in Paris,” the Gallic (and galling) follow-up from 1997.
“Werewolf” isn’t the first ‘80s genre comedy getting the remake treatment. DreamWorks is remaking the vampire comedy “Fright Night,” Paramount is developing a new “Teen Wolf” and Dimension itself is trying to stay in the game with a new “Scream” film from Wes Craven. Some people out there are thinking of a ‘“Beetlejuice” remake, aren’t they ...

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: ‘An American Werewolf in London’ poster. Credit: Universal Pictures.

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