Mark Romanek hiring the legendary Rick Baker to design the lycanthrope for his forthcoming Wolf Man update means the production is going heavy on practical f/x, then we could be in for something special. Of course, this is piling speculation upon speculation: ShockTilYouDrop‘s report about Baker’s hiring has yet to be confirmed by Universal, while my sense that Romanek’s going to eschew CG is nothing more than wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’.

For those of you who’ve been living under a large, flaccid cock for the last year, The Wolf Man will be set in Victorian London circa 1888. In Andrew Kevin Walker’s telling of the tale, Lawrence Talbot is a Shakespearian actor who returns home to Blackmoor, where his brother has gone missing. Turns out his old stomping grounds are also beset by a savage series of murders coinciding with each full moon. Add in an ancestral curse, and you can figure out the rest.

Anthony Hopkins has been cast as Benicio’s father, so we’re at least guaranteed some big-time thespian histrionics. But if ShockTilYouDrop is right, and Baker is on board, we could also be getting the most memorable man-to-beast transformation since An American Werewolf in London. Again, wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’…

This is Universal’s latest attempt to revive their Classic Monsters (following the dreadful Stephen Sommers experiment), and, with this cast and director and screenwriter, they might even have awards aspirations for it (i.e. performance-wise). The Wolf Man is expected to begin filming later this year with an eye toward a late ’08 release date.