First Look: Benicio Del Toro as the Wolfman

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can fans of The Wolfman look forward to the most?
RICK BAKER: You never know how the movie's going to be, but from what we've done so far, which, mind you, hasn't been very much, what I would say to fans is that at least you know that the guy who's doing the makeup in the movie is coming from the same place they are — as a fan. I have a real appreciation for the old Universal classics. The old fanboy in me is jumping up and down here!

How much did you update the makeup from the original?
It's actually more frightening. But I still wanted to be true to the original and show respect for it. What's interesting about those two pictures is that there's one that he's kind of facing forward and you see a little more of his body — that's very much more of a classic Wolfman shot; it looks more like the Chaney version. The close-up one is a more frightening and dynamic version. Even though it's the same makeup [as the first picture], he can do a lot more than Lon Chaney could do with the makeup. It's cool that there's something for the old-school guys, and the other picture is more for the guys who don't even know what the Wolfman is but can see that picture and still go, ''Oh, that's cool!''

How does Wolfman rank next to the rest of the films on your extensive résumé?
It's funny: I've been very successful and done a lot of films, and I don't really have an agent — I don't really pursue jobs, I let people come to me. I'm not really listed anywhere; I don't know how people find me! It's easier now that I'm more established, but in the earlier days when I first started out, it's actually amazing that I was successful. But with this film, when I first found out they were going to do it, I went and talked to somebody I know at Universal. I said, ''You know what? I have to do The Wolfman! You've got to let me do this! I'll do some really cool stuff.'' The Wolfman and Frankenstein were probably the two most important films in my childhood that made me want to become a makeup artist. I pursued this job. Fortunately they said okay! It's been really fun. We've been filming at night, and were filming in this gypsy camp. It was like being in an old Universal film. We were in this forest with these cool gypsy wagons and these gypsies sitting all around, and people on horseback, and fog — I was just going, Yeah! The Wolfman!

How hard has this project been to work on compared to your others?
The ones that are harder are actually the ones that people tend to think are easier. The harder ones are really the human kind of makeup. Like Norbit, which I was nominated for this year [at the Oscars]: I had to turn Eddie Murphy into a believable old Chinese man, which is actually a lot more difficult, because people are more critical of that kind of makeup — because you see [humans] every day. So you have kind of a frame of reference of what you are looking at. You don't necessarily see werewolves or aliens every day, so you can accept those kinds of things.

Originally posted Mar 19, 2008