David Hayter makes his directorial debut with the action-thriller Wolves. Hayter is best known as an actor and voice-over artist, particularly as the voice of Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series. He is also known for writing the screenplays for X-Men, The Scorpion King, X2: X-Men United, and Watchmen. In advance of the North American premiere of Wolves at the 2014 Toronto After Dark Film Festival, I sat down with Hayter to discuss the film.
According to Hayter, the idea of Wolves came about when he was approached by producers with a werewolf story. Even though it was an idea he was not really keen about, it did get him thinking about the genre. “I started talking to some friends about it and I had a lot of people tell me ‘I would like to see a good werewolf movie.’ So, I started about thinking about ‘Is it possible to make one’ and I started analyzing some of the problems that some of the earlier films have had and trying to figure out if we could do it in a different way.”
One of the ways that Wolves differs from other films in the werewolf genre is that is strays away from the concept of the werewolf being a monster that needed to be destroyed. “This film is about is a kid who discovers that he is one these creatures, but instead working to destroy the creature within himself, he is learning to control it, he is learning to focus it.”
Hayter describes Wolves as an action film, rather than horror, featuring a hero’s journey, which deals with the issues of that come with adolescence. “It’s about that wild nature that we encounter in ourselves when we start to become men, when we go from 17, 18 and you’re dealing with issues of sex and violence and rage and all of those things, which you need to learn to control.”
In explaining the simple and generic title for Wolves, Hayter mentions that the film’s working title was Slaughter’s Road and that it was hard to come up with a title for a werewolf film, which described what the film was, without coming off as stupid. “Slaughter’s Road, I liked as a title, but it didn’t explain that it was a wolf movie. When I came up with Wolves, I just thought that was so definitive, and it’s a cool word, that it would probably work for us as a title.”
In terms of the make-up in the film, Hayter wanted to make sure the creature designs in the film were individually sculpted and executed to reflect the actors’ personalities. “We wanted to make sure that each one was a character; that each one’s creature depiction reflected who they were as people and that when they were wolves that the actor’s still came through; you still feel the power of Jason Momoa, or Lucas Till, or John Pyper-Ferguson.”
In a final comment about the film, Hayer talks about underestimating the sex appeal of star Jason Momoa: “I didn’t really appreciate how attractive he is, until I saw him walk into the office one day and the women in the office just tend to fall over dead behind him. So yeah, Jason has an enormous amount of sex appeal and he does make a pretty sexy werewolf.”
Stay turned for my review of Wolves, which will be posted later today.