Like many good stories, this project started with a newspaper clipping. “Finding the Werewolf” L.A.-based co-director-producer Rodrigo Iturralde spotted an article about Gabriel “Larry” Gomez, a Mexican immigrant in the U.S. with the rare genetic disorder of hypertrichosis, aka werewolf syndrome, and showed it to his partner Georgina Gonzalez, then a Fulbright scholar at the USC Peter Stark producing program. Gonzalez sought Gomez out on Facebook, and eventually got a response to meet.
In the course of two years, they established a rapport with the charismatic Gomez whose abnormal amount of hair growth on his face and body has not stopped him from working in Hollywood and starting a family. Being one of the less than 100 “werewolves” on earth has landed him roles in such pics as “Water for Elephants” as well as in TV shows and commercials. Iturralde shot the official video of Gomez’s wedding last year.
Gomez worked as a trapeze artist in a circus from the age of 8 for 18 years with his brother, where they were known as the Wolf Boys. But he also worked as a greeter and did more menial jobs around the circus.
“What is so awe-inspiring about Larry is the confidence he projects despite his looks,” said Iturralde. “And he’s witty, he disarms people with his humor,” said Gonzalez.
“Finding the Werewolf” was presented at the Lisbon Docs and New York TV Festival last year where the likes of Participant Media, The Guardian Digital, Swedish pubcaster SVT and PBS have eyed the project. They hope to secure a sales agent and additional funding as well as jumpstart some pre-sales at Guadalajara’s 13th Co-Production meet. They’re also presenting their first documentary under their Off-Hollywood label, “Kiliwas at Dusk,” about a nomadic indigenous tribe struggling to preserve its legacy.
“We chose the title “Finding the Werewolf” to mean the search for the human being behind the façade,” said Iturralde. “After all, are we not all different, with our very own facades?,” he mused. “We’re all werewolves, in a way.”