Red Riding Hood director talks about recreating a classic fairy tale for the big screen and all the good stuff the DVD has to offer, including an exciting new ending!
—By Toni-Marie Ippolito
Forget what you remember about the old Red Riding Hood tale you read as a child. In director Catherine Hardwicke‘s movie version, she dives deeper into the darkness and mystery, making it a more thrilling suspense story that adults can sink their teeth into.
“As you get older you’re able to explore fairytales on a different level and I think there are these tales that help us get through different phases of our lives,” Hardwicke said over the phone. “At first they seem like very simple tales that you might relate to on some level when you’re five years old, when you’re scared of going into the dark woods or you’re scared of the big bad wolf. But maybe as you get older you start realizing—when you’re 12 or 13—that ‘wow’ even in Red Riding Hood there’s another layer to this; she’s not obeying her mother, she’s getting in touch with her sexuality, she’s telling the wolf where she’s going so she’s basically inviting that danger into her life.”
In Red Riding Hood, the people of the village of Daggerhorn have maintained an uneasy truce with a werewolf, who prowls at every full moon, by offering the beast a monthly animal sacrifice to quench its appetite. But under a blood red moon, the wolf changes the stakes by taking the life of one of their own. Meanwhile, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried)—who is betrothed to Henry (Max Irons)—is planning to run off with the man she really loves, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). But when Valerie finds out that her sister was the victim of the wolf, everything changes as the town, including Henry and Peter, band together to find the wolf and kill it.
As the townspeople hunger for revenge, famed werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) is summoned to Daggerhorn to help find and kill the beast. However, Solomon’s arrival brings only more turmoil as he warns everyone that the werewolf takes human form by day and could be any one of them. Panic grips the town as the death toll rises with each red moon, tearing apart the once close-knit village. But it is Valerie who discovers she has a unique connection to the wolf that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect and bait.
When casting the role of Valerie, Hardwicke (of Twilight fame) knew Seyfried had that special quality to capture and add to that essence of suspense that surrounded the whole movie. “She’s such a versatile actress,” Hardwicke said. “She can be super sexy or super funny, break your heart and just draw you into the character. This character had to be a bit of an internal character because she’s suspicious of everybody and can’t really open up too much because she now realizes that someone she’s close to is a murderer and she’s got this growing paranoia and Amanda really pulls you into that. She’s brave, and she’ll try anything.”
When filming Red Riding Hood Hardwicke admitted that although she puts her heart and soul into the moment of every scene, she does keep in mind what may show up on the DVD later. “As a director I try to stay in the moment,” she said. “But sometimes you do think about it like when something really crazy happens and you laugh at something or you’re just amused by something and you want to show people how something actually came to be. In the extras we included the scene where we had the dance numbers and as I was watching the DVD, I thought it was one of the more interesting things because it’s very raw looking and it shows how somebody was there with a stunt pad and another person there in a wolf costume that was bought online for $69 for a stand in.
“You see ways a director and a stunt coordinator start to line up shots and how to shoot the movie. So this DVD has interesting things I don’t think a lot people have seen before. As a director, it’s a great learning experience to watch how other directors work, too, so for film students I always say, ‘rent the DVD and watch the ‘Making Of.’”
Included on the Red Riding Hood Blu-ray edition are many of these special extras including casting tapes, the making of the wolf, gag reels and deleted scenes. Hardwicke also shot an alternate ending, which appears on the Blu-ray edition. “As a director, every moment when you’re on set you try to be creative in that moment and one moment during filming I had this crazy idea and thought, ‘why don’t you try this?’ So I shot a different ending and then we tried it as one of the possible endings for the final version and I liked it a lot. I think the final one you saw in theaters might be better but I like them both. It’s kind of like a contest, ‘which one is more interesting?’”
Red Riding Hood DVD is released on June 14.
DVD Extras on Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
– Alternate Cut featuring an all-new ending not seen in theaters
– “Secrets Behind the Red Cloak” picture in picture commentary with Catherine Hardwicke, Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons
– Reinvention of Red Riding Hood
– Red Riding Hood’s Men – Making of the Score
– Before the Fur…Making of the CG Wolf
– Casting Tapes – Casting Shiloh Fernandez
– Casting Tapes – Casting Max Irons
– Casting Tapes – Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons
– Rehearsals – The Dance
– Rehearsals – The Festival
– Rehearsals – The Wolf Attack