In 1941’s The Wolf Man and it’s 2010 remake, The Wolfman, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Benicio Del Toro both play Lawrence Talbot who is bitten and turned into a blood-thirsty creature of the night. Talbot is still human by day and becomes romantically involved with a woman named Gwen Conliffe. Unfortunately he attacks Gwen, which becomes his undoing as both Lawrence and the Wolf Man. Evelyn Ankers played Gwen in the 1941 version and Emily Blunt played the role in the 2010 version. Let us take a look at these beautiful and talented actresses who came face to face with the wolf.
Evelyn Ankers was born August 17, 1918 in Chile to British parents. While her film career started in 1936, she would become a leading lady in many American horror films after her role as Gwen in The Wolf Man. Ankers would go on to star with Chaney, Jr. in such horror films as The Ghost of Frankenstein, Son of Dracula and The Frozen Ghost. Between 1936 and 1950, she starred in over 50 films before retiring to be a housewife. She did make guest appearances on television westerns in the late 1950s and one last film in 1960 titled No Greater Love with her husband Richard Denning whom she married in 1942. The couple stayed together until her death in 1985. They had one daughter, Diane. Ankers passed away on August 29, 1985 at the age of 67 in Hawaii. Let us take a look at the the actress who would succeed Ankers as Gwen Conliffe.
Emily Olivia Leah Blunt, was born February 23, 1983 in Wandsworth, London, England as the second of four children to Oliver and Joanna Blunt. As a child and young teenager, she stuttered but it was through acting lessons she learned to overcome it. In November 2001, at the age of 18, she made her professional acting debut alongside the famous Dame Judi Dench in Sir Peter Hall’s production of the play “The Royal Family.” She was critically hailed for her performance and went on to star in other theater projects. In 2003, she made her on-screen debut in the British television drama Boudica in which she played an ancient Celtic warrior-queen. That same year, she garnered praise for her role as Catherine Howard in the two-part series Henry VIII.
In 2004, Blunt was cast in the British film My Summer of Love where she was co-winner of the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Newcomer with her co-star Natalie Press. In 2006, she starred alongside Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada which would launch her into the American film spotlight. Blunt would be seen in such films as The Jane Austen Book Club, Charlie Wilson’s War and Curiosity before joining Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins in 2010’s The Wolfman. She would go on to star alongside The Mummy‘s Tom Cruise in 2014’s The Edge of Tomorrow. She reunited with Meryl Streep in Disney’s 2014 film, Into the Woods which also starred Johnny Depp. In 2015 she reunited with Benicio Del Toro in the film Sicario. Blunt currently appears opposite Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron in The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Blunt is currently a dual citizen of the United States and England. She is married to actor John Krasinski with whom she has one daughter, Hazel, and another child on the way.
Whether you are a fan of the original or the remake, one thing that can be agreed on is how well both women played the role of Gwen Conliffe. They lent their own style and personality to the role and played it well to the era it was made in. With another reboot of The Wolf Man in the works, who would you like to be picked as the next female lead?
(Joe Grodensky – @Joe Grodensky)