Shooting of Hayter pic starts Thursday

Stephen McHattie has joined the cast of werewolf thriller “Wolves,” with David Hayter helming from his own script in his feature directing debut.

Shooting begins Thursday near Toronto. Copperheart Entertainment, French financier-sales agent TF1 Intl. and Telefilm Canada will co-finance “Wolves,” with Lucas Till and Jason Momoa in the lead roles. Copperheart’s Steve Hoban is producing; Benedict Carver, Steven Paul and Hartley Gorenstein exec produce.

Till will portray an 18-year-old who’s forced to hit the road after the death of his parents and finds his way to an isolated town to hunt down the truth of his ancestry — giving rise to the question of who’s hunting whom. Moma plays a town leader and McHattie will portray a key role as a farmer named John Tolleson.

McHattie portrayed Hollis Mason in “Watchmen,” which Hayter scripted. That character was the pic’s first vigilante as The Nite Owl.

Hayter told Variety on Tuesday that he’s aiming to start an original franchise that avoids the cliches associated with werewolf films. Igor Studios’ Dave Elsey, who created Beast for “X-Men: First Class,” is designing the original creatures for “Wolves.”

“You’re not going to see a person with a snout transforming into a werewolf and it’s going to take place in a mountain community that’s almost unconnected to the modern world,” he said. 

Hayter has watched every werewolf movie he could find and says only a few are cliche-free — “An American Werewolf in London” and “Ginger Snaps.” “The Landis film is a masterpiece because it deals so well with manhood and sexual impulses,” he added.

Elsey told Variety he’s been working on the creature costumes and special effects since June as he designs for each actor. “We’re up to our ears in fans, fur and claws,” he added.

Entertainment One has acquired Canadian rights to the film. The producers will handle sales rights in the U.S., the U.K. and Benelux while TF1 Intl. will handle the rest of the world.

Hoban said the film is aimed at replicating the look and feel of a major studio film. He said there was some sales activity during the Toronto International Film Festival but he does not plan to start seeking a U.S. partner until production is completed; Hayter said he’s hoping to present a trailer at next year’s Comic-con.

Besides “Watchmen,” Hayter’s writing credits include “X2: X-Men United” and “The Scorpion King.” As an actor, he voiced Solid Snake in the Konami videogame franchise “Metal Gear Solid.”

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