You’ve turned the "big bad wolf" into a shape-shifting werewolf. Is there a basis for that in the original story?
The folk tale, or fairytale, had all of these different origins around the world. Charles Perrault put down his version and the Brothers Grimm put their version down, but there really were versions before that had werewolves. Because the wolf has always been that intriguing creature … there was a werewolf trial in Germany in 1589 of this one character [Peter Stumpp]. People are so freaked out by wolves that they make them into these mythological beings. And that’s been going on for hundred of years. But David Leslie Johnson, our writer, he did expand on it. In all these stories, [the character] doesn’t have a name, and we don’t know the mother or the father or anything. He really built a whole rich world around her, with all the secrets and lies and the intrigue and stuff.
This version is certainly far sexier than any that I can remember.
Well, in a weird way, [the original stories] are kind of sexual. Like in this version [points to an illustration from a Red Riding Hood book] the wolf is in bed, and he’s trying to get her to get into bed with him. The wolf is cross-dressing. The little girl invites the wolf. She’s in touch with her sensuality. She’s out picking flowers and not staying on the path like her mom told her. She meets the wolf and the wolf says, “Where are you going?” And she admits she’s going to her grandmother’s and where the house is. She’s inviting that dark side, the dangerous side, into her life. So the seeds are all there, even in the original tale.
Red Riding Hood has a lot of aspects to it that are inevitably going to draw comparisons to your previous film, Twilight. Was it a conscious effort to explore those similar themes in a different setting?
You know, I sometimes wonder if maybe Stephenie Meyer was inspired by the original Red Riding Hood stories with the werewolf. There are some themes that keep coming up in life. Every romantic comedy has a love triangle. It’s kind of hard to have a romance without some conflict in it. It’s boring when two people are happy at the beginning of a movie and happy at the end! So pretty much you’ve kind of always got something like that going, some kind of obstacle or conflict. It’s kind of the basis of drama.
I think there are things I think you can feel are parallels [with Twilight]. All kinds of movies have things that we relate to. But I loved a lot of things in this that gave me new things to explore. For example, in Twilight I had to convince you that a vampire could live in the real world, show up at your high school and you wouldn’t even notice. In this case, I had the chance to create a whole new world that we haven’t seen and convince you of that reality, suspend your disbelief and escape into a fairytale world.
You can read the entire interview here.