Gael Garcia Bernal debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the studio’s first action film, night werewolf, which premiered on Disney+ earlier this month. The director was a legendary composer Michael Giacchino, the film received critical and fan acclaim, earning an extremely fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the praise for the film focused on Bernal’s incredible performance as Jack Russell, which gave the film its heartbeat, and according to night werewolfscreenwriter Heather Quinn he was always the one they had in mind to bring the man and the monster to life.
Bernal was tapped to direct Marvel’s first Halloween special last November, but based on our interview with Quinn, it seems like they always knew he’d be the one to make the movie work. Quinn shared that she found out she would be writing the script while on set Hawk eye in early 2020 and that the entire process of making the film, from inception to premiere, took an impressive 18 months. She explained: “We always thought about him before we knew we had him because Michael was fascinated by the idea. We kept joking that if he said no, we wouldn’t have the film because he was the one who wanted it. It was always the one he thought about.
One of the things that does night werewolf works as well as it is, being the link between Jack and Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly), as they form an unlikely friendship during a very chaotic evening. Quinn shared that while nothing major changed between the finished script and the start of filming, there were a few small changes, including adapting the dialogue to fit Bernal and Donnelly’s voices. Quinn said: “Gael came on quite early, but I’d say the biggest change with him was on set, working with him and Laura Donnelly to make sure his voice was as big as possible. [It’s] also somewhat common [to work] with the actors to make sure these things feel true to them and how they are trying to portray the story. So there were a lot of things and points of view, or his point of view made for a lot of really nice nice moments in the dynamic of the relationship and how he really approached the character, which I think is really sweet and maybe surprisingly fresh.”
Quinn went on to describe a specific moment that changed the day with Bernal, which is also one of the highlights for the audience. in night werewolf, Jack tries to save his friend Ted, who has been taken by monster hunters to compete for the Blood Stone. Their reunion scene is definitely one of the film’s best moments, allowing Bernal to exude old-school Hollywood charm and instantly draw the audience to both Jacks. and Ted As Quinn explained:
A good moment that comes to mind is when we were filming the moment where Stupa Man’s arm reaches through the bush and pulls him. There’s a moment of jumping, then a pause, and he laughs, steps back, grabs her hand, and seems to hug her. When we were filming it behind the monitors, we all kind of passed out because we were like, “Oh, it’s like love between these two.” And it’s just that he’s really in character and knows it and to some extent can’t even be on the page. But that was part of working with him to really reveal that kind of truth about who he was learning about, I think.
Stay tuned for our full interview with Heather Quinn, where she discusses the connection between Jack and Elsa, the comics that influenced the storyline, and how Bernal was always meant to be their Jack Russell. In the meantime, watch our interview with the film’s director: