Thursday, 17 November 2016

Wolves On Film!

Introducing our fluffy addition to the Songbird cast! Photo credit: Forged Films

    Last weekend I was finally able to reveal (through a series of beautiful photos by Forged Films) the fact that we had a live wolf on the set of Songbird. Known to us as Sawyer, this furry addition to the cast was great to have around; although he played a fearsome character - whom Jennifer encounters on her journey through the woods - in real life Sawyer is a big softy who brightened up the crew after a long day of lugging kit over hills.

   So I've decided to do this fun blog post in honour of Sawyer, starting with a few facts:

- Firstly, no Sawyer is not 100% wolf. As far as I know, keeping a pet wolf in this country is severely frowned upon. But he is as close as you can get to owning one: his breed is Tamaskan (which is Inuit for 'mighty wolf') and he's much bigger than your average husky.

- One of Sawyer's owners is Alison Heath, the woman responsible for making The Collector's main costume. Most of us weren't aware of Alison's amazing pet when we brought her on board, but as soon as she told us about Sawyer, a part was written for him.

Photo credit: Forged Films
- Sawyer is a survivor. He was the only one of his litter to make it, and a vet predicted that he wouldn't live more than a year. However, at five years old, Sawyer is still going strong - although his left leg is now mostly metal due to a hit and run accident when he was seven months old.

- Due to his surprising stamina as a puppy, Sawyer's breeder named him 'Blufawn Easter Miracle', which is still his stage name. His owners renamed him Tom Sawyer, and he is frequently tormented by another pet of theirs, a continental giant rabbit called Huckleberry Finn!

- Although Songbird will be Sawyer's first movie credit, he is an experienced model, having appeared in various wolf-themed photoshoots. He also appeared in a promotional tour of one of the Twilight films. What a star!

   Sawyer's involvement in Songbird made me think about other cinematic wolves. It's easy to ring off a list of movies with wolves in - the first that spring to my mind are The Company of Wolves, Red Riding Hood, various classic werewolf movies and even the amazing animated wolf scene in Beauty and the Beast

   What's more challenging, however, is trying to think of wolfy appearances in another of my favourite mediums: music videos. I genuinely struggled for a while to find some notable examples - particularly as the videos for Hungry Like The Wolf and Hounds of Love do not contain dogs of any kind! But, after a bit of research, here are my top five wolfy music videos (and thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this list!):

5) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll



   Probably one of the coolest, quirkiest music videos of all time; those long takes are luscious. But it didn't rank higher on my list because the wolfy creature in it is played by a human (so therefore its rating is only 'slightly wolfy')!

4) First Aid Kit - Wolf


   A band I could listen to all day; this video is wonderfully tribal, and features a lot of great wolf imagery, but no appearances from the animals themselves (rating: fairly wolfy).

3) Kyla La Grange - Been Better


   One of my favourite artists, and this video actually features one of my favourite music video sets of all time. There's an earlier recording of this song and a video to go with it, which I also love, but in this version, Kyla has a real live wolf as her dinner guest! (rating: rather wolfy)

2) Taylor Swift - Out of the Woods


   This video is absolutely full of fairytale imagery, and if you can stomach obvious CG, it's a glorious one to watch. Among all the dangerous things Taylor encounters in the woods (as does Jennifer in Songbird) there's a fair few wolves lurking in the shadows, including a wonderously ferocious-looking wolf around the 0:27 mark. It very nearly made my top spot - it's only the fact that the wolves are mainly animated that stopped it from placing there. (Rating: pretty darn wolfy).

1) Evanescence - Call Me When You're Sober


   Every outcast teenage girl's favourite band in the noughties, this was a relatively later offering from the band, and it's full of red riding hood symbolism. And while Kyla only had the one wolf to dinner, Amy Lee is flanked by them - and they're played by genuine animal actors! Plus her dining table is much bigger, and she has a brief flying scene. What joy! (Rating: properly wolfy!)

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   What do you think of my selection? Have I missed any great wolf-filled music videos? If so, let me know - I'd love to see some more!

   In summary, whether in feature films, shorts, television or music videos, wolves bring an instant symbolism and a great sense of ancient fantasy. You cannot see one without picturing them running through the trees of a forest, or howling at the moon. And it is so incredible that Sawyer's brief appearance has brought all this to Songbird. The first cut of the film is nearly complete, and I can't wait to show you guys the trailer within the next couple of months!

Sophie

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting blog Sophie. Really looking forward to the release of Songbird next year. On a side issue the 'Wolves' starring in 'The Company of Wolves' were in large part German Shepherds owned by somebody I worked with in Peterborough for many years. Not terribly fierce in reality :)

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    1. That's really fascinating to hear - thank you for sharing your story, Mark!

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