’Werewolf by Night’: Michael Giacchino Discusses Directing and How the Special Came To Be
As part of the new issue of Empire Magazine, the print publication had the chance to sit down with Werewolf by Night director Michael Giacchino, who will be showing off his big directorial debut on Friday, October 7.
According to Giacchino, it was him that went to Kevin Feige and pitched the idea of doing the new monster movie:
“Kevin [Feige] said, ‘What would you like to do?’ I mentioned Werewolf By Night, and he looked at me, like, ‘Wait, really?’ I still have the comics that I bought when I was a kid. Kevin and I kept talking about it, and it’s evolved into this love letter to monsters and the humanity behind them.”
The new “Marvel Studios Special Presentation” will be rated TV-14, which was a surprise to Giacchino himself. In fact, in his interview with Empire, Giacchino also mentioned that his nephew, after watching it, couldn’t sleep that night. In another interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Giacchino said the following about the film’s rating:
“We had always assumed it would be TV-MA, but I wasn’t always involved with what was happening on that end in terms of ratings and all of that. And so I’m not sure, but I am sure you are absolutely right that the black and white did help keep us within a certain range.”
With Werewolf by Night, Giacchino will be showing off a brand-new set of skills that he hadn’t explored for a long time. The composer-turned-director explained his job transition as follows:
“Yeah, it has. When I was nine years old, my dad gave me his 8mm camera, and so I’ve been making movies since I was nine years old. Literally, all I did growing up was make movies. And then I went to film school and studied music as well, which I loved. And you’re right. Music is storytelling. It’s all about storytelling. When I’m scoring a film, I’m helping to tell that story, and the music I’m writing is there to help you understand how those characters are feeling at any given moment. Basically, how would I feel if I [the composer] were Jack Russell [Gael Garcia Bernal] in that moment? So that’s the music I write, and it’s all storytelling.”
However, Giacchino is not giving up on being a composer either, as he himself will be arranging the music for the project. He went on to discuss the duality of his job:
“Yes, in that way, it was a lot like Moon Knight because I was constantly arguing with myself. (Laughs.) ‘Are you sure you want to do this? Come on, you’ve done this for years. Try this instead.’ So there was that feeling of, ‘Oh, I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of and collaborate in that way.’ But I did find that person in my editor, Jeff Ford, who is one of the greatest editors on the planet. He and I have worked on five movies together over the years, so it was great to have him fill the role that I would normally have when I’m working with a director. He’s someone I could get honest feedback from, and I’m thankful for him filling that role.
It actually made the editorial process a lot more interesting. As he was cutting a scene, I would go, ‘Wait, I have an idea,’ and I would run into the other room to write a piece of music. And then I’d bring it back in and we’d put it up against picture. And then he would go, ‘Oh, this gives me an idea for a cut.’ Or I would go, ‘Let me change the music.’ So it was a fun experience, and it really took me back to when I was making films with my friends, as a kid. We really had a lot of freedom to do what we wanted to do.”
He was also asked whether he could feel the influence from directors he’d collaborated with in the past as a composer while working on Werewolf by Night, to which he responded:
“Constantly! But it was more like, ‘Why are you doing that? Don’t do that.’ It was like someone behind me going, ‘No, no, no. Face it that way, or do this. Or add a shake to it.’ The years I spent with J.J. [Abrams], Brad [Bird], Matt [Reeves] or Pete Docter, I absorbed a wealth of information because I love filmmaking. Like I said, I’ve been doing it since I was nine. I just love it. So I would go to their sets and just be there for fun. I loved watching them work, but in doing that, I did learn a lot over the years. It was like getting a master class from really amazing directors. I’m sure if you asked them, they’d be like, “We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re just doing whatever we can.” In the end, that’s what it feels like. No one ever really knows. It’s a best guess sort of scenario, but having said that, I have learned an immense amount from each of them over the years. So I’ll forever be thankful for the years I spent writing music for their films.”
The 53-minute film will debut on Disney Plus on October 7. Here’s the official synopsis, from Disney:
“On a dark and somber night, a secret cabal of monster hunters emerge from the shadows and gather at the foreboding Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader. In a strange and macabre memorial to the leader’s life, the attendees are thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic—a hunt that will ultimately bring them face to face with a dangerous monster. Inspired by horror films of the 1930s and 1940s, the chilling special aims to evoke a sense of dread and the macabre, with plenty of suspense and scares along the way as we explore a new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as authors like Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.