Zhao, GameStop, Abrams: Weekly Round Up

Zhao, GameStop, Abrams: Weekly Round Up

Zhao, GameStop, Abrams: Weekly Round Up – So, last week we had rumblings of movement on the long-anticipated Last Voyage of the Demeter, based on an underdeveloped but key part of Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel, Dracula, and a few weeks ago we had news of Jennifer’s Body and The Invitation director Karyn Kusama’s take on the vampire iconic, but they always say that great things come in threes, so this week there’s some more blood-curdling Dracula news for us to… um… sink our teeth into.

It would seem that Universal, perhaps learning the lessons from their failed (and now somewhat infamous) attempts at launching a so-called “Dark Universe”, have now decided that the best approach to dealing with their classic monster icons is to, well, throw everything at them and hope that something will stick. And folks, let me tell you I am here for it.

Thus, our third Dracula project is being headed up by director Chloe Zhao, who is currently earning awards buzz for her last movie, Nomadland, which stars Francis McDormand. Zhao’s next movie will be Marvel’s Eternals, which has reportedly already been filmed as it was shot concurrently alongside Nomadland, but we are yet to see or hear much of anything about the project. Given that she’s already finished – or finished-ish – with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then it makes sense that Zhao will be looking for something else to keep her occupied.

What she’s come up with sounds absolutely bonkers in the best possible way. The Zhao take on Stoker’s classic villain will reportedly be a futuristic, science-fiction western that the director will write, direct, and produce for Universal Pictures.

There was some mild backlash over the announcement in some corners of the twitter-verse, but I say if you’re not excited about the prospect of multiple Dracula movies on the go all at once, then you’re missing the point of these characters. The reason Universal’s “Dark Universe” failed (aside from the fact that the movie was shit) is that the classic monsters are icons in and of themselves. They can and should be given to creatives who are willing to try new things with them, and we’ve already seen this approach work when it comes to Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man.

Another franchise that seems to have taken the “throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-hope-it-sticks” approach is J J Abrams’ and Bad Robot’s Cloverfield series. Of course, the original Cloverfield, which was released way back in 2008 (simpler times, hey folks?) was a big-budget found-footage movie that centered around a mysterious Godzilla inspired monster running rampant around New York.

That film was a big success, and for a long time rumors of a potential sequel were constant, but we finally did get another addition to the franchise in 2016 – a full eight years later – in the form of 10 Cloverfield Lane, a claustrophobic thriller starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman. That film began life as an entirely separate standalone movie called The Cellar before it was reworked late during pre-production to be loosely integrated into the Cloverfield franchise. A similar journey befell 2018’s underwhelming The Cloverfield Paradox, with started as an original film called God Particle.

Well, it appears that old mystery box Abrams is looking to try and kick some life into his mish-mashed franchise of unrelated but kind of related monster movies, but this time rather than take an unrelated project and rework it, it appears the plan is to craft an actual Cloverfield movie from the ground up.

Of course, in rather typical Abrams fashion, very little is known about the movie at this point beyond the fact that it won’t be a found footage film. It is curious though, that the team would now decide to try and produce a Cloverfield movie that is designed as a Cloverfield movie. What does this mean? Have they finally realized that lazily shoehorning in otherwise interesting movies into their meandering and inconsistent franchise ideas and retroactively try and fit it into a narrative rather than take an anthology approach perhaps wasn’t the best idea? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

And, finally, it was only last week that news broke that a small group of Redditors were busy taking down the system with GameStop stock. Since then, there have been more twists and turns in that narrative than an M Night Shyamalan movie, but it seems Hollywood was busy taking note as there are not one, not two, but a total of THREE different movie adaptations of the events in the early stages of production.

There’s The Antisocial Network, which is based on the book proposal by Ben Mezrich (who wrote the book Bringing Down the House, which the movie 21 was based on), which has been snapped up by MGM. There’s a narrative project in production over at Netflix, and a third potential dramatization is in the early stages, based on r/wallstreetbets founder Jaime Rogozinski, who sold his life rights to… er… Brett Ratner’s production company RatPac. Let’s just ignore that one. – Zhao, GameStop, Abrams: Weekly Round Up

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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