Tomorrow, Werewolf By Night arrives to usher in a darker, more monstrous, more macabre era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we're introduced to a number of colorful characters, including the titular Werewolf (Gael Garcia Bernal), the badass Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly), and powerful Man-Thing, who will all play a key role in helping set the stage for the next decade of Marvel stories.
With the premiere just a night away, we recently caught up with director and Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino to talk about his feature directing debut, bringing a modern-day monster movie to the MCU, and casting his amazing leads, amongst other things!
Check out the full video interview below and please remember to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!
ROHAN: I'm a huge fan of the classic Universal Monster Movies and I'm assuming you are too since this Werewolf By Night special clearly draws inspiration from some of those films - were there any particular films from that era that you were looking at when you were conceptualizing this project?
MICHAEL: I think it was more of a feeling from my past, like every Saturday morning, I would, when I was a kid growing up, I would sit in front of the TV and watch monster movies for hours. That's what I did every single Saturday, and I loved those films. So, for me, it was more of a general feeling that I was going for, more of this idea of what was a classic monster movie, or what was a character who had an issue or a problem that was bigger than life, and of course, in the Werewolf’s case, it's becoming a werewolf, that's a big problem.
Monster movies, to me, are allegories, which discuss, which explore the problems that we all have. Here we are with characters that have a very specific issue they're dealing with, his happens to be turning into a monster, a werewolf, once a month, and how would you deal with that? I always felt so bad for these characters, I always felt I had such empathy for them, in a way, where everyone else was always so afraid of them, and so scared and wanted to kill them. I always felt bad for them and wanted to help them. So, I think, in general, when monster movies are done right, and that could mean an old classic Universal film, it could mean a Hammer movie, it could mean Ultraman, or Godzilla, it could mean any of those, but when they're done right, you actually understand and feel empathy for those characters, especially the monsters, because they're the ones with the problem, not the person running from it, it's generally focused on the main character, the werewolf or whatever.
So, that's really what attracts me to it. That's what I was going for. I love the feeling of that, and it was just reaching back into my childhood and looking for that parallel. How do I try to recreate that feeling I had as a kid when I was watching these, and then, of course, later in life with films like Poltergeist too, as well, same thing, always the same. So, there's scary and there's sadistic, I don't like sadistic, I like scary, and I like heart, and I also like a bit of fun and humor, so hopefully, that's the balance we struck when we've made this.
ROHAN: To find that balance, you also need great actors to play these parts believably and you absolutely nail the casting with Gael Garcia Bernal and Laura Donnelly, who are excellent in their respective roles as Werewolf and Elsa Bloodstone. During that whole casting process, can you tell me more about what you were looking for?
MICHAEL: I was looking for people who had depth, people you could empathize with, I didn't want somebody that could just come out and kick ass right out of the gate. I wanted people that would get hurt. I wanted people that would be afraid. I wanted people that would react like real people, and, if you've watched anything that Gael has done, or anything that Laura has done, they're both amazing at that, they're almost instantly relatable, and I felt so lucky. I mean, I had never met Laura before, but I had met Gael before, we worked on Coco together, and I felt his performance in that was incredible as it is with everything he does and has done over the many years.
Then, Laura was the same. I watched her in The Nevers, and I was just like, “Her! That's it!” She has such confidence, but behind it, you also feel the fear, you feel the vulnerability and that was important to me, to have people that weren't afraid to be vulnerable, because I think that that's the most important thing in telling a story like this, is to be able to see underneath the edge. So many times in movies like this, they just focus on top level, you know, and I really wanted to go deeper with this and have people that you could read what was going on behind there, just behind the look on their face, and those two could do it in spades, that was great.
On a dark and somber night, a secret cabal of monster hunters emerge from the shadows and gather at the foreboding Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader. In a strange and macabre memorial to the leader’s life, the attendees are thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic—a hunt that will ultimately bring them face to face with a dangerous monster. Inspired by horror films of the 1930s and 1940s, the chilling special aims to evoke a sense of dread and the macabre, with plenty of suspense and scares along the way as we explore a new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.