Griffin Dunne (born June 8, 1955) is an American actor and film director. Dunne was born Thomas Griffin Dunne in New York City, New York, the son of Ellen Beatriz (née Griffin) Dunne and Dominick Dunne. His mother founded the victims’ rights organization Justice for Homicide Victims and his father was a producer, writer, and actor. He is the older brother of slain actress Dominique Dunne and the nephew of John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion.
Dunne had a couple of minor support roles in the late 70’s before he co-starred with David Naughton in the classic An American Werewolf in London (1981). The film starts with two young Americans, David (played by Naughton) and Jack, (played by Dunne) on a backpacking holiday in England. Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, the two men venture deep into the moors at night. They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack’s death and David being taken to a London hospital. Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.
Critics generated mostly favourable reviews for the film. The film won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and an Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Make-up by Rick Baker. The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen. Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and has been referred to as a cult classic, and is still the best werewolf movie ever made.
Dunne followed up with the under-rated comedy Johnny Dangerously (1984). The movie stars Michael Keaton as an honest, good-hearted man, Johnny Kelly, who is forced to turn to a life of crime to finance his neurotic mother’s skyrocketing medical bills and to put his younger brother Tommy (Dunne) through law school.
Dunne’s last great role was that of Paul Hackett in After Hours (1985), a black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese. Paul Hackett, a New Yorker, experiences a series of adventures and perils in trying to make his way home from a night out in SoHo. Though it was not received well by audiences, it was given positive reviews at the time and went on to be considered an “underrated” Scorsese film, and a cult classic in its own right. The film did, however, garner Scorsese the Best Director Award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival and allowed the director to take a hiatus from the tumultuous development of The Last Temptation of Christ.
As of 2004, he has appeared in nearly 40 films and TV movies. He has produced and/or directed more than 10 other features and has made numerous TV appearances. In 1995, Griffin Dunne was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for Duke of Groove, which he directed and co-wrote. He shared the nomination with producer Thom Colwell. He is also a known producer along with his producing partner, actress Amy Robinson (Mean Streets) for producing After Hours, Running on Empty and Game 6.
David Walsh Naughton (born February 13, 1951) is an American Actor and singer best known for his starring roles in the 1981 horror film ‘An American Werewolf in London’, the 1980 Walt Disney comedy, ‘Midnight Madness’, the 1984 comedies ‘Hot Dog… The Movie’, ‘Not for Publication’ and the mid-80’s CBS sitcom ‘My Sister Sam’.
Naughton first became widely known as a result of his singing and dancing appearances in Dr Pepper TV commercials. He starred in the sitcom ‘Makin’ It’ and hit the Billboard Top Ten in 1979 with the show’s theme song, a US million selling disc. In 1980 he starred in ‘Midnight Madness’ followed in 1981 by his lead role in the Academy Award-winning horror film An American Werewolf in London.
The film starts with two young American men, David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) on a backpacking holiday in Northern England. Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, the two men venture deep into the moors at night. They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack’s death and David being taken to a London hospital. Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.
Shooting took place mostly in London but also in Surrey and Wales. It was released in the United States on August 21, 1981 and grossed $30.56 million at the box office. Critics generated mostly favourable reviews for the film. The movie won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film. Rick Baker’s various prosthetics and fake, robotic body parts used during the film’s painful, extended werewolf transformation scenes and on Griffin Dunne when his character returns as a bloody, mangled ghost impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences so much that the film won the Outstanding Achievement in Make-up in the category’s inaugural year.
During the body casting sessions, the crew danced around David Naughton singing, “I’m a werewolf, you’re a werewolf … wouldn’t you like to be a werewolf, too?” in reference to his days as a pitchman for Dr Pepper.
The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen. Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and is been referred to as a cult classic… It’s the best werewolf movie ever.