Shapeshifters are very popular in modern fiction dating back to tales of werewolves that haunted the countryside of Eastern Europe. The classic film The Wolfman from Universal launched an entire franchise of shapeshifting horror and not-so-horrible films including: The Howling, Teen Wolf and one of my all time favorites An American Werewolf in London. But this legacy continued to evolve and include multiple other types of animals from the Sillhouette Nocturne series about large cats to Sherrilyn Kenyons Were Hunters to vampires that become wolves and even going a step further in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books where an older woman is actually a wolf who became human for a time.
So, reaching back into their archival vaults, Universal is remaking The Wolfman. If you’ll recall, a few years ago, they remade The Mummy with tremendous success. The plot for the film scheduled to be released in February 2010 takes us back in time to the roots of the legends:
Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman, is lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father, Talbot sets out to find his brother… and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself. Talbot’s childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother’s fiancée, Gwen Conliffe, tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline has come to investigate.
The film will star Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot and Anthony Hopkins as his estranged father. Emily Blunt stars as Gwen, Lawrence’s soon to be sister-in-law and the absolutely brilliant Hugo Weaving (V is for Vendetta, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix) as the Scotland Yard inspector Aberline. I have to say, I’ve got chills just thinking about this film.
Other great shapeshifters in modern books, television and film include:
*George from Being Human
*Sirius Black (black dog) from Harry Potter
*Professor Lupin from Harry Potter
*Jacob Black from Twilight
*Richard from the Anita Blake series
*Billy Borden from the Dresden Files
*Vane Katalakis (and so many more) from the Dark Hunter Series
*Bran, Adam, Samuel, Charles and Anna (werewolves) from Mercy Thompson series
*Mercy Thompson (Coyote)
*Jeremy, Clay and Elena and the rest of the North American pack from Women of the Otherworld
*Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
*Sam Merlotte (true shapeshifter) from True Blood (The Southern Vampire Mysteries)
Who are your favorite shapeshifters?
This shortlived series was a lot of fun when it was on, even if it was cheesy. Besides, Simon MacCorkindale was pretty to look at.
Jacob Transforms into a Wolf
Jacob Black is Bella’s childhood friend in Forks, he’s also got a tribal secret of his own that comes to fruition in Stephenie Meyer’s second book New Moon:
Sam Transforms into a Dog
Sam Merlotte is a great bartender, boss and friend to Sookie Stackhouse. Sam is also a true shapeshifter. While he “must” change once a month, he can change whenever he wants. He turns into the animal he last looked at. His most common form is that of a dog that looks a great deal like my Murray dog.
This film was really cutting edge in its day and I remember wanting to watch it so badly.