The Wolfman | 2010
Joe Johnston’s revisiting of the classic Universal monster looked so promising, but despite looking and sounding gorgeous, gets so bogged down with portentous gloom and a heavyweight cast, it’s hard not to long for the 1941 70-minute original.
The undeniably handsome production revisits some familiar locations, kicking off with the Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, southwest London, where actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is playing Hamlet when he receives news of his brother’s disappearance. Among the theatre’s other screen appearances, the Richmond became the ‘Duke of York’s’ where the play of Peter Pan premieres in Finding Neverland, with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, and the exterior of the nightclub run by the gangster twins in The Krays.
‘Talbot Hall’, the crumbling estate of Talbot’s father, (Anthony Hopkins) is Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, in the Midlands. Beneath the CGI weeds and decay is the palatial home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and, far from being deserted, it’s usually overrun with coachloads of tourists eager to explore the lavish rooms and extensive gardens. You can see Chatsworth’s pristine interior in Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and as itself in The Duchess, with Keira Knightley.
The spooky woods are a mixture of Black Park Country Park in Buckinghamshire, and Bourne Wood, near Farnham in Surrey – where the werewolf wreaks carnage at the gypsy encampment. Bourne Wood is where Russell Crowe famously ordered his troops to “unleash hell” at the beginning of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, and also appears in Scott’s 2010 Robin Hood and Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.
The village of ‘Blackmoor’, where superstitious locals mutter darkly in the local tavern is another screen veteran, Castle Combe in Wiltshire. Once dubbed the ‘prettiest village in England’, Castle Combe had a bad experience with Hollywood in the 1960s when the original (musical) Doctor Dolittle was filmed on its cobbled streets, but time seems finally to have healed the wounds and cameras returned to the village not just for The Wolfman, but for War Horse again, and Matthew Vaughn’s fantasy Stardust.
The gloomy building in which Talbot views the mutilated body of his brother among the animal carcasses, though, is the Tithe Barn at Lacock, also in Wiltshire.
The funeral of Talbot’s brother is held in the grounds of Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, four miles north of Buckingham town itself. Stowe is another location seen in Stardust but perhaps, more famously, as ‘Berlin’ in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.
Taken to London, and unwisely displayed in an insane asylum to prove his professed lycanthropy is a delusion (bad move) Talbot escapes, to be chased through the streets, which are actually the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich SE10. The adaptable grounds have been used for countless productions, including Les Misérables (as 'Paris'), Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Thor: The Dark World and The Mummy Returns,
The street in which Talbot is shot at, and where in human form he later buys a newspaper, is Middle Temple Lane, London EC4, running between Fleet Street and Victoria Embankment. This is the spot where Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) witnesses the abduction of Dr Fredericks (Michael Gambon) in Robert De Niro’s 2006 CIA drama The Good Shepherd. And, of course, it’s part of the Inns of Temple complex where you’ll find the Temple Church from The Da Vinci Code.