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A wolf in Del Toro's clothing

17 Comments
By Chris Betros

Benecio Del Toro was asked an unusual question by a female fan while he was in Japan recently. She wanted to know if he was a “herbivore” man, in reference to Japanese guys who are not interested in sex, love or marriage, or whether he was a normal “carnivore.” After having the reference explained to him, the quietly-spoken 43-year-old Puerto Rican actor simply said with a grin: “It depends on the woman.”

Considering he is promoting his latest film, “The Wolfman,” carnivore is probably an apt answer. “I think I’m still in Wolfman mode. Once all the PR is done, it will be out of my system,” said Del Toro during his third visit to Japan.

Directed by Joe Johnston and produced by Del Toro, “The Wolfman” is a remake of the classic Universal horror film starring Lon Chaney Jr, but with several changes, including a different ending. “Since the story hasn’t been told for nearly 70 years, I thought it might be a good time to remake it, especially for audiences who might not be familiar with the original. Our version is more visceral and aggressive.”

Del Toro plays Lawrence Talbot, a New York Shakespearean actor who returns to his family’s ancient home in England after the grisly death of his brother. There he meets his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins), unaware that he has a frightening family legacy. Well, you can guess the rest. Full moons, bloodthirsty deaths, silver bullets, a babe (Emily Blunt) in danger, a dogged Scotland Yard inspector (Hugo Weaving) – all the familiar ingredients are in the mix. “Unlike movies such as ‘An American Werewolf in London’ or ‘The Howling,’ which had a contemporary setting, this one is a period piece set in the late 1800s. I think the writer did a great job and if we’ve done our job right, fans of the original will enjoy the new version.”

The makeup is by the legendary Rick Baker. “I had a love-hate relationship with Rick. I loved him in the morning when he put it on, which took four hours, and then I hated him in the evening when he scraped it off. That would take two hours and everyone else had already gone home for the day. He did an outstanding job. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I looked like my St Bernard.”

Del Toro said he enjoyed working with Hopkins. “I’ve been a fan of his for decades. When he arrived, it was like seeing Hannibal Lector or Nixon or the butler from ‘Remains of the Day’ walk into a room. It’s as if you are sitting in the front row of a basketball game watching the pros.”

Del Toro, who grew up in Pennsylvania, first came to movie audiences’ attention as a killer in the 1989 James Bond film "Licence to Kill," but it was “The Usual Suspects” in 1995 that really propelled his career. He followed that up with films such as “The Fan” (1996), “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998), “Traffic” (2000), “21 Grams” (2003), “Things We Lost in the Fire” (2007) and the mammoth two-part “Che” in 2008.

He has slowly built up a big following among Japanese women who frequently ask him what he does to be so sexy. “They make me nervous when they ask me that,” he says shyly. “I don’t work on being sexy. What is sexy, anyway? Interestingly enough, there are plenty of people who find beings like werewolves and vampires sexy. I think it goes back to the ancient Greeks, but in almost every culture, there are legends of men turning into beasts in one way or another. Do you have anything like that in Japan? I guess there is a bit of attraction to the supernatural deep down in all of us.”

Del Toro has four films already lined up, including a huge gamble – he will take on the very risky role of Moe Howard in the Farrelly brothers’ movie about the Three Stooges, though he declined to discuss it during this trip.

"The Wolfman" opens in Japan on April 23.

© Japan Today

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17 Comments
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From Che Guevara to Moe Howard -- that's quite a stretch.

I enjoyed both of the movies that comprised "Che," but, unfortunately, the part of his life that I was most interested in was not covered in either part. (That would be the period between the victory of the revolution in Cuba and his departure for Bolivia.)

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Since the story hasn’t been told for nearly 70 years

Um, dude, there's been plenty of wolfman movies recently.

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Um dude, he means the original.

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the photo is kind to him,looking like brad pitt on a bad day

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DAMNIT! I love this man...So sexy and gorgeous. YUM

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Um dude, he means the original.

Um, dude, you mean the one that has been remade every which way?

I get what you're saying, and what he's saying, but usually when you make a statement like "this story hasn't been told in xx years" it usually means "this story" or any other story like it, not some tale that has been told every which way umpteen times.

Nevertheless, I love Del Toro (even sat through three hours of spanish Che, with Japanese subtitles) and will see this when it comes out.

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'Are you a herbivore man?'--What a lame question!

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Good answser though.

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Wasn't this posted a few weeks ago?

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What a stupid question, does Del Toro in any way seem like he'd be an herbivore? Dude's a man's man like Clint Eastwood, I could see that question for DiCaprio maybe.

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OK. All of the Wolfman scenes were awesome. The rest is well....

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the man of my dreams :)

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LostinNagoya, like you are the only one.. lol Del Toro's HOTT!

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He's a good actor, makes a movie interesting.

He always looks like Brad Pitt on a bad day. I spent half of something- 21 grams maybe?- Thinking I was watching Brad Pitt. Maybe it actually wasn't til after I watched it and googled it that I realized it wasn't.

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The latin Brad Pitt. I'd like to see more of Weaving, very underrated I think.

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I have never in my life heard a decent multilayered question asked in any interview in Japan. Every interviewer knows that the first question is a prep for deeper probing. What was she going to do if he answered in either way? Oh yeah, she would giggle, and people around her would say "sugoi" and "haiiirrrrrrr"

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“Che”

LOL!!

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