EXCLUSIVE: An American Werewolf in London is officially getting a remake with The Walking Dead‘s David Alpert and Robert Kirkman producing through their Skybound Entertainment for Universal Pictures. The remake of filmmaker John Landis’ classic 1981 comedic horror film will be written by his son Max Landis, who also is attached to direct. The news comes after the elder Landis and filmmaker Anthony Waller (An American Werewolf in Paris) sealed a deal with the studio on the rights. The younger Landis’ deal is being negotiated. Skybound has a first-look production deal with Universal.
Also producing will be Todd Garner, and John Landis will executive produce along with Circle of Confusion’s Matt Smith, Broken Road’s Sean Robins and producer Andy Trapani, who told Deadline that he’s been working on putting this together for nearly 10 years.
The original film, which is marking its 35th anniversary and came from the mind of writer-director John Landis, starred David Naughton — popular at the time for his Dr. Pepper commercials — Jenny Agutter and Griffin Dunne and followed two kids on a hiking vacation in England who are attacked by a werewolf. Dunne’s character is killed off early on, and Naughton’s character starts to transform into a werewolf. The film’s makeup artist Rick Baker won his first Oscar on it.
News of the remake should send fans over the full moon. Although it initially opened to mixed reviews, the film soon became a cult classic. Landis did not use Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” though the 1978 song is often associated with the film. Instead, Landis used Creedence Clearwater’s Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” which played as Naughton’s character neared his first transformation into a werewolf. (Landis would return to Creedence two years later, using “The Midnight Special” in his prologue to Twilight Zone: The Movie.)
This time around, let’s hope they use Zevon’s song, which he wrote with LeRoy Marinell and Waddy Wachtel. The great Jackson Browne produced “Werewolves of London” for Zevon, who died in 2003.
Max Landis, who is the writer-producer on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on BBC America and is non-writing exec producer on Channel Zero on the Syfy Channel, is repped by CAA and by Writ Large. His screenplay for Bright is currently being filmed by David Ayer.
Here’s the wonderful transformation scene from the original film: