Del Toro revives old time monster in "The Wolfman"

Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:15pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Benicio Del Toro is an Oscar winner with a tough screen persona, but underneath that rugged exterior, the actor has a soft spot for old-time movie monsters like the Wolf Man.

Del Toro, who won an Oscar playing a tough cop in drug film "Traffic" and recently was revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara in "Che," takes a surprising turn on Friday in the latest movie incarnation of a hairy, man-beast werewolf in "The Wolfman."

But in talking to the 42 year-old actor it is apparent that portraying a monster in a thriller from Universal Pictures, whose history is steeped in characters like Frankenstein and the Mummy, is a perfect fit for the serious dramatist.

In fact, Del Toro took his idea for a remake of 1941's "The Wolf Man" to Universal, and in a way the movie got its start when Del Toro was a child. Back then he had a Wolf Man poster in his bedroom and liked to play-act as the howling beast.

"There was something about those monsters that they weren't only scary, but they were cool looking," Del Toro, 42, told Reuters. "And then there's something about all of them being misunderstood," he said. "So you felt for them, like you wanted to protect them from the human beings, the lynch mob that's going after them."

In "The Wolfman," Del Toro plays an Englishman named Lawrence, who is stricken with a curse that turns him into a werewolf when the moon shines bright.

As the beast, Lawrence rips up country villagers, but he tries to fight the curse, and butts heads with his domineering father (Anthony Hopkins), who is hiding a secret of his own.


<p>Cast member Benicio Del Toro attends the premiere of "The Wolfman" at the ArcLight theatre in Hollywood, California February 9, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>