In Red Riding Hood , a terrifying werewolf haunts the inhabitants of a medieval village. The film follows the story of a young girl, Valerie Amanda Seyfried , who must confront the truth about the identity of a wolf that continues to stalk members of her family and village.
Director Catherine Hardwicke determined that the wolf had to play fierce and monster-ish, but also display calculating and intelligent characteristics.
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Part of our work involved making sure it could still manoeuvre and run like a wolf and had that physiology, but would also deliver a believable performance. Artists at Rhythm looked to collections of reference photographs, books and footage put together by Hardwicke and her researchers. This ranged from real wolves to big cats like lions and tigers, as the film version of the wolf was scaled as a much larger creature than the real thing. We might have needed, say, our wolf to stand still, then make a quick turn and do something else.
Well, we could never find that footage in real life as one continuous unit, but we could put different pieces together in an edit. It was almost like a previs — people could look at it and see the wolf at a stop and see the energy and the motivation and how the mechanics were working, from a still wolf to a high speed run.
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- Tale of two wolves?
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On set, scenes of the wolf attacking the villagers were shot with several stand-in references. Plywood and cardboard cut-outs and a styrofoam version of the wolf helped with actor eyelines.
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Similarly, a person in a wolf suit was utlized for some scenes to aid integration, and a wolf stuffie — just from the shoulders and neck up — stood in for further reference. We would make sure we took a lot of film photographs of it and a lot of hi-res digital resolution photos, and then we also made sure it got shot in the tail end of any take that the wolf was supposed to be in.
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So we wanted the ability to translate those scapula anywhere down within a region, forward and backwards and up and down over the rib cage. That conjoined with a muscle structure, which then caused a weight-driven slide of the fur and the flesh on top of that.
Tale of two wolves
It was never with the fear or combative nature of a wolf, who is just taking that action to stay alive. We made sure our wolf did it with the intention of wanting to harm people, wanting to wreak havoc and basically be a bad-ass wolf. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great.
It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing. Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit. The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather? Return to Cherokee Legends.