Werewolf By Night Director Recalls On-Set “Panic Moment”

Exclusive: Werewolf By Night director Michael Giacchino reveals the moment of on-set panic that stayed with him after the Marvel project wrapped filming.

Marvel's Werewolf by Night
Photo: Marvel

Werewolf By Night is a big deal for the MCU, introducing a darker part of the Marvel Universe that is reportedly set to shake things up in the future. It’s also a one-off special that doesn’t really set up any further adventures for the central characters of werewolf Jack Russell (Gael Garcia Bernal) or hunter Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly), but we certainly hope to see them again!

After D23, we got to sit down with Werewolf By Night director Michael Giacchino and chat about the process of making the spooky season spectacular, and the acclaimed composer opened up about the challenges of filming the special over a tight, 12-day schedule. Asked if there were any particular parts of the shoot that stayed with him after the cast and crew had wrapped filming, he recalled a very specific on-set “panic moment” during the sequence where Donnelly’s Elsa is locked in a cage with Bernal’s transforming lycanthrope by a fierce cabal of monster hunters.

“We spent so much time designing this cage and figuring out this and that, what’s going to be happening, how they can’t escape it,” Giacchino tells Den of Geek. “There was a whole section [of the cage] that could come off, so that the actors could go in and out when they needed to. Turns out we didn’t even end up having to use it, because Laura [Donnelly] could just walk between the bars of the cage. We were all like, ‘Take your place,’ and she just went right in. I was like, ‘Wait, what just happened? Oh no.’ Suddenly, we had this panic moment. ‘Are people going to believe that they could actually stay in there? If they could just fit through the bars?!’ But it all worked out, it’s fine.”

Giacchino says Marvel didn’t put any limitations on the kind of horror they could dip into on Werewolf By Night. “Surprisingly, every time I wanted to do a particular thing, they’d be like, ‘Great. Let’s do it.’ To their credit, they really supported me in the direction I wanted to go,” but it was important to him that the one-off monster movie truly be a unique and scary experience for younger MCU fans that they wouldn’t be able to forget in a hurry.

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“On the first day, I sat down with the cast in a circle on the floor of the main set,” he says. “I explained what [Werewolf By Night] was for me, and I said, ‘Tell me something that scared you as a kid, whether it was a movie or an incident, or just something that still gives you chills to this day.’ I think we all have those things, whether it was from a horror film we watched in the dark as a kid – maybe we were too young to watch – or any number of things. It was really interesting and fun to go around everyone in the cast and just hear those stories. When we got through the whole group, I said, ‘That’s what we want to do for some kid out there who’s going to watch this.’ We want this to be that future story for them. Some kid who’s 20 years from now, going to go, ‘Oh my God, I couldn’t sleep after I saw this.'”

Werewolf By Night is now streaming on Disney+.