E. Elias Merhige’s Howl Starts Filming in Calgary in October

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E. Elias Merhige is finally returning to a feature film set after a 20-year-long hiatus! Merhige’s upcoming film ‘Howl’ will commence filming in Calgary, Alberta, on October 1 and last throughout the winter before concluding on February 28, 2025. Renowned environmental activists Leonardo DiCaprio and Jane Goodall serve as executive producers. Author Christopher Monger, known for penning ‘Temple Grandin’ and ‘Widow Clicquot,’ wrote the screenplay.

A live-action venture, ‘Howl’ is a survival story of an abandoned family dog and a young wolf, uniquely narrated from the animals’ own perspectives. Set against a harsh winter backdrop, the movie follows the family dog, Harry, who is left alone after his owners die in an accident. Harry’s survival journey leads him to encounter a young wolf, and the two overcome their mutual fears and forge a close bond before marching against the subfreezing surroundings together. The adventure drama film aims to provide a transformative view of the natural world rather than focusing solely on environmental themes.

Following the official announcement of the movie, Goodall expressed her excitement about the project. “‘Howl’ will not only be an enjoyable and entertaining experience but will also help change perceptions of the ‘big bad wolf,’ which has been hunted to extinction in many areas of the world and is threatened and endangered in many others,” she shared in a statement.

Goodall’s long-standing friendship with DiCaprio served as fuel to the project’s development, with both sharing a deep admiration for wolves. DiCaprio, through his Appian Way Productions, joined the project alongside Michael Hampton and Jennifer Davisson, who emphasized the film’s goal to foster a greater appreciation for the relationship between humans and wildlife.

Merhige, who dubbed the forthcoming project “daring and truly distinctive,” is known for helming the gothic horror films ‘Begotten’ and ‘Shadow of the Vampire.’ While the latter project garnered the filmmaker critical acclaim, it turned out to be short-lived, as following the negative reception of ‘Suspect Zero,’ the filmmaker established a distance from features. Merhige’s ability to handle dark and visually stunning narratives is evident from his filmography and sets high expectations for ‘Howl.’

Wildlife photographer Doug Allan, renowned for shooting the nature documentary ‘Frozen Planet’ in similar surroundings, will oversee the cinematography. Animal trainer Andrew Simpson, known for his work on the DiCaprio-starrer ‘The Revenant’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ will serve as the wolf whisperer and dog trainer, ensuring the film’s animal stars deliver the required performances. The extended five-month-long shooting schedule should allow for smoother on-set preparations that will enhance the visual appeal of ‘Howl.’

Calgary has been turning into a popular destination among filmmakers, as evidenced by productions that chose to shoot in the city, such as the second season of ‘My Life With the Walter Boys,’ an untitled Netflix drama starring Tim McGraw, and Paramount+’s ‘JonBenét.’

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