Steven Bauer talks about playing Hyde in Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, debuting on Blu-ray and DVD October 9
It's always nice to see a studio embrace its roots like Universal Pictures has with its legacy of classic horror movies. Last week, they debuted the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection on Blu-ray, as a part of Universal's 100th Anniversary celebration. This week, the studio debuts a brand new monster movie with Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, arriving on Blu-ray and DVD October 9. This period piece takes place in a small village that has been terrorized by a ghastly creature that slaughters people during the full moon. A contingency of beast hunters arrives to rid this town of this gruesome menace. Steven Bauer stars as one of these warriors named Hyde, who has a flair for telling overly dramatic stories of their adventures to local townsfolk. I recently had the chance to speak with the actor over the phone, about his experiences in making this horror tale. Here's what he had to say.
I really enjoyed this. It looked like you were having a lot of fun getting into this crazy character.
Steven Bauer: Yeah, I'm really excited about the movie. When I saw it on the big screen, I thought they really did a good job with the beast, with the creature. I really liked the look of the film. Louis (Morneau), the director, really got us all on the same pages, in terms of a tone. As much fun as we were having, you can't let it bleed through too much, because there is an element of fear that has to be there at all times.
In terms of the beast, did the evolution of the beast's look change at all, from when you were shooting to when you saw this?
Steven Bauer: I saw him move on the set. They had this tall kid from England, who was a stuntman, and they put him in the costume. What I never saw was him leaping. I do have a moment where I'm running and we have a big shootout near the end. I'm firing at him, and he comes at me and takes a swipe, knocks me about 10 or 15 feet. Of course, they had to put a harness on me, and pull me back, but my stuntman took the real brunt of it (Laughs). He had to fly through the air and land on a mattress. Once the beast is in the scene with me, and I'm laying down and he's going to kill me, being in the scene with him, I was terrified. Once they put the head on the costume, the head itself is animatronic, so it's mechanized. The guy who invented it, he's there nearby with a control box and he's controlling the mouth, opening and closing. He's looming over me, and they're putting blood on his teeth so it drips down on me. When I look up into his mouth, it was easy for me to be scared. I was terrified. The beast was something we felt really good about. You don't want to go into a film like this, and have everything else look great, and have the creature be cheesy.
Hyde seems to really enjoy regaling the townsfolk with all these stories. What kinds of things were you thinking about, when you were trying to get into his story mode?
Steven Bauer: That was easy for me, I'll tell you. For me, it's fun to create a whole adventure, or story, and turn it into a tall tale. You're just exaggerating, going a little bit further, pushing the limits of what an audience, depending on how goofy or drunk they are, what they're going to buy. My character will push that to the limit, because he needs that attention. He's obviously not the leader of our merry band, it's the strong silent guy Quinn. I have to get attention in other ways. That was really fun for me to do. Louis, God bless him, he created the proper environment, a bar with brothel girls and all these people out for a good time. All I had to do was hold court and tell my stories. I was really happy when I saw the final film, that both my big scenes when I'm telling the stories, both of them stayed in the film. I was a little worried that it might not be necessary for the story, but he kept them both, which is great.
What's it like having to wear an eyepatch like that? I always wonder what it's like having to wear something like that for 12 hours a day on a movie set.
Steven Bauer: I'll tell you what it's like, because I wondered all my life. You see some famous, iconic screen characters with eyepatches. What it's like is you lose your depth perception, completely. I'm already a little bit blind, I don't have great vision to start with. First of all, it was my idea, and they went for it right away. Louis loved the eyepatch, and the costume lady loved it too, so we said, 'OK, eyepatch for Hyde.' I immediately invented the story, and the writer wrote the monologue with me. That story where I say, 'And he took out my eye!' I wrote the monologue for myself, and the writer tailored it to fit that scene.
That's cool. Was the story in there though, but you just added the eyepatch?
Steven Bauer: What they had was my character just bragging, saying 'I've seen that beast,' and blah blah blah. It never got into any specifics, so I thought, 'Let's go with the eyepatch. I lost the eye with this same beast, and we'll put it into the monologue that I'm doing in the saloon.' They loved it and went for it. They really wanted to use me in the movie. I'm really kind of window dressing in a lot of scenes (Laughs), and they're like, 'Well, we've got you. We should use you, so let's give you some dialogue.' I can't say I regretted it, but every morning when I'd show up on the set, the girl who did the costumes, that was the piece du resistance. It was like, 'Oh gosh, here we go again. Another eight hours missing my right eye.' There were moments between scenes where I would flip the damn thing up so my eye could breathe. There were also moments when I was severely worried about crashing my horse into a tree, because I'd lose depth perception. I'd be looking out of my left eye, which is not my best eye anyway, and objects appear closer than they are. It's like the rear view mirror. It's really strange. Also, when you're walking in the forest, and there's twigs and branches in front of you, you don't see them because you don't really look down. You're too busy looking straight ahead, that you don't see what you're stepping on. That was also quite daunting.
I believe you shot this in Romania. Can you talk about what those locations added to the production?
Steven Bauer: It was amazing. First of all, you see it in your mind's eye, what you imagine what Transylvania is. I'm a big fan of the classic films that created that myth about Dracula and Vlad the Impaler. We get there, and we're taken from Bucharest in the city, which itself is quite amazing, but when you go out into the country, you go to Transylvania. It's a beautiful town, and on one of the buildings, it says, 'This is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.' We're shooting in that town. That's where he was from, and his castle was not far from there, but we didn't get to shoot in the castle. It's an amazing place. It gives you the sense of period right away.
Is there anything you can say about the character you play in Ray Donovan, which is coming up next year on HBO?
Steven Bauer: I play one of Ray Donovan's (Liev Schreiber) partners, who collects information. I'm sort of the forensic guy that helps him. I'm ex-Mossad, so I will have an accent. My name is Avi in the show. I try to be Ray Donovan's conscience, because he's a very conflicted man. He's a family man, but he does deals with the underbelly of society. It's good to have Avi around, because I sort of remind him who he is. It's going to be really fun. I can't wait. I think it's going to be one of the best shows on TV. I saw the pilot that we did, and it's dark, gritty, beautiful, and scary too. It's really hard, and Jon Voight is brilliant, and so is Liev Schreiber.
When do you start shooting?
Steven Bauer: The first word was we were going to go in January. I hope that's still a go. We're definitely going 12 episodes, hopefully in January. They will probably air next summer, I hope.
Excellent. That's about all I have. Thanks so much, Steven. It was great talking to you.
Steven Bauer: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
You can watch Steven Bauer as Hyde in Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, debuting on Blu-ray and DVD October 9.
Werewolf: The Beast Among Us was released October 9th, 2012 and stars Steven Bauer, Nia Peeples, Stephen Rea, Ed Quinn, Rachel DiPillo, Ana Ularu, Adam Croasdell, Guy Wilson. The film is directed by Louis Morneau.