Why Edgar Wright Turned Down The American Werewolf In London Remake

An American Werewolf in London

This is the greatest answer. Every director approached with the offer to remake a classic Hollywood film needs to memorize this response. Because when Edgar Wright was asked if he wanted to participate in a remake of the classic John Landis horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London, the Baby Driver helmer wisely explained:

It was years ago. Way before Max [Landis] came onboard. There was no script, just the idea of doing it. John [Landis], whom I love, asked me and I said it's a perfect movie as far as I'm concerned, and I have nothing to add to it.

And scene. Really, what more does one need? That's a perfect movie. "I have nothing to add to it." Think how many terrible remakes we would be spared if Hollywood studios, and talented filmmakers, realized that the cash grab isn't always worth it, when nothing else of value can be added?

Edgar Wright made this admission during a recent Shaun of the Dead screening in the UK on Halloween, but SlashFilm reached out to Wright for clarification and got the above quote.

You could understand why a studio might WANT Edgar Wright to direct a remake of An American Werewolf in London, even though Wright's filmography doesn't really lend itself to pure horror. His zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead is the closest he has come, and that leans a lot closer to comedy than John Landis' 1981 classic does.

Then again, Edgar Wright did contribute to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse experiment with this memorable trailer for a fake horror movie called Don't. Years later, this remains awesome.

After the Edgar Wright story made the rounds, John Landis' son Max reached out to SlashFilm for even more clarification. He said that his father, John, basically couldn't have offered Edgar Wright the chance to helm a remake of An American Werewolf in London, because for years, the rights to the property were tied up. It's only recently that the legal workings have course corrected, and a remake is on the right path.

Guess who is writing it? Max Landis, himself. Max's credits include David Ayer's monster-cop movie Bright, the Same Rockwell comedy Mr. Right, and the story for Chronicle, the movie that launched Josh Trank's career.

In the 1981 movie An American Werewolf in London, two backpackers touring the British countryside are attacked by a werewolf, and one -- in the aftermath -- begins suffering painful transformations. The movie's great, though it's best characterized for its incredible movie-monster makeup by Rick and Elaine Baker.

Edgar Wright was right to turn the remake down. If you can't improve on perfection, don't try, just for the paycheck. We don't know what Edgar Wright is working on next, but he's fresh off of the success of Baby Driver, and likely has the pick of the litter of the top screenplays (and doesn't need an unnecessary remake on his resume).

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.