When Rick Baker, who became a makeup artist because of films like The Wolf Man (1941), heard that this film was being made he was working on the Universal film Norbit (2007), he went into an executive's office to tell them he had to do the makeup.
Inspector Francis Abberline is based on Frederick Abberline, a Scotland Yard Inspector that investigated London's 'Jack the Ripper' murders in 1888, a case which is alluded to in the film. This fantasy version of him very much resembles the one in From Hell (2001).
Was at first slated to hit cinemas in 2007, but difficulties to find a director made this release date impossible. Then a new release date was set for February 2009, then November 2009 and then finally February 2010.
Joe Johnston signed on to make the film three weeks ahead of principal photography. This late start was one of the main reasons why he employed CGI in the werewolf transformations as there simply wasn't time to design new make-up effects.
This is Benicio Del Toro's second time playing a "wolfman". His very first feature film role was that of a "dog-faced boy" in Pee Wee Herman's Big Top Pee-wee (1988). Both films had music scored by Danny Elfman, and were slammed by critics as weaker imitations of earlier films.
One scene involving frozen corpses was shot in the village of Lacock in Wiltshire which is conserved by Britain's National Trust organization. Universal donated £5000 to the Trust in return for letting them film there.
Danny Elfman was the original composer on the film and recorded a complete score inspired by Wojciech Kilar's score for Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). His score was rejected as it did not fit the new tone of the film after several re-shoots and delays. Paul Haslinger was supposed to replace him, but Universal pulled the plug on that, and decided to re-instate Elfman's gothic score.
During a 2011 speech at the Savannah Film Festival, Ron Meyer, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Studios, said that The Wolfman was one of the two worst movies that Universal had ever made; the other one he singled out was Babe: Pig in the City (1998).
Early in pre-production, Canadian theatre actor Mason Shumaker was considered for the role of Lawrence Talbot/Wolfman. However, director Joe Johnston eventually thought that Shumaker was too young for the part, and the studio wanted to go with a more bankable name.
Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving are all part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Del Toro plays The Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Hopkins plays Odin in Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Weaving plays Johann Shmidt/Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
Max von Sydow: Seen only in the director's cut in an uncredited cameo, he plays a character who says he purchased the silver-headed cane at Gevaudan "lifetimes ago". Gevaudan (a French county now renamed Lozere) was famous for a series of attacks on humans in the 1760s, attributed to a werewolf-like "Beast of Gevaudan," elaborated on in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001).
The only makeup effect that Rick Baker did not have anything to do with was the feral mountain boy who bites Sir John. The reason for this is because he felt it was a mistake to show it the way seen in the film. Roz Abery designed that makeup.
Two other endings were filmed but not used. In one Lawrence bites Gwen on the neck before she shoots him with the silver bullet. She looks up and stares at the moon as he dies. In the other ending Gwen does not manage to shoot Lawrence before she dies from his attack and he stands up and stares directly at the camera and growls. Ultimately the decision was made to have Gwen shoot Lawrence and escape unharmed.