Max Landis was one of the guests at last week’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, and during his appearance, stepped outside to take part in a fairly extensive video interview. I’ll embed the whole thing at the foot of the post – you’ll likely enjoy watching it, for Landis’ exuberance as much as anything else – but first, I’ve tried to sort out some of the little newsy pieces. I know what makes the blogosphere go round.
The interview tends to hop around all over the place, so I’ve re-ordered these quotes by subject. I guess we should start with Chronicle 2, as I expect that’s what most folk will want to hear about.
Landis teased little elements of his in-progress sequel script at several points, and it wasn’t just in what he said. He even indulged in a little mime, acting out what appears to be a mech suit and firing off heavy rounds. You can jump directly to that moment and see how you read it.
Intriguing, though it’s perhaps easier to pin a meaning on his actual spoken statements:
Small spoiler. The movie you saw, Chronicle, in the sequel is a thing. The edited footage is a thing. It’s not like we found this footage after all these kids died. You can’t deny cars being thrown in the air in Seattle. You saw all those helicopters. The world changed. That’s the end of Chronicle… things are going to be different now.
I loved Matt and I felt really bad for him because I understood just how sort of emotionally lazy he is and how he doesn’t really do what he’s doing. And that’s why I’m putting him through hell in 2.
I just wrote a real cool scene this morning where… er, I’m not going to say.
It wasn’t all plot talk, however. Landis also paid homage to the story’s inspirations:
Akira, X-Men, Stand By Me, Stephen King really is it… it’s a Stephen King story. It’s a character driven story where things go progressively more crazy.
Praised for the conceit by which the camera was moved around telekinetically and achieved some long, steady tracking shots, Landis excitedly pointed out:
We’ve got a version of that in 2 that is also pretty cool.
I suppose that’s evidence that the second film will also be a “found footage” picture, or at least incorporate some footage in that style.
Though Landis might not like the “found footage” label being applied. He doesn’t seem overly fond of the subgenre, not least when filmmakers cheat on the roles. Interestingly, he then admitted that there’s a “second” of breaking the found footage rules to get some close ups at the end Chronicle.
Now, about this “the edited footage is a thing” comment. When I spoke to director Josh Trank about the first film, I tried to get a straight answer as to who had “edited” the footage, and he acted, pretty much, as though my question had gone over his head. I’m wondering now if he was just trying to duck out on spoiling the basic premise of the sequel.
And talking of Mr. Trank, Landis doesn’t think that he’ll be back to direct the sequel.
Josh is all over the place with other projects. And I’m also all over the place with other projects but Chronicle is really… my baby. Josh will probably be involved in some respects.
But he’s also got a healthy awareness that he’s working on a studio film, and some times, that doesn’t always pan out:
You never know when the studio will make a change. Maybe I’ll be first writer of ten on the sequel to Chronicle if they don’t like the idea.
Some time was spent discussing Landis’ many other projects, all of which, he says, now have finished scripts.
When Good Time Gang was brought up, Landis started whooping and hollering with excitement.
Good Time Gang! Whoo! Yeah!
He seems proud of this one.
The interviewer mentioned Jonah Hill as being involved then Landis jumped in, also naming Mark [Wahlberg] and Chris Evans before going on.
It’s coming together. It has a director. It’s about the hard partying children of the world’s most successful mercenaries… Jonah really gets it and the cast really gets it.
The only reference to Amnesty, a spy thriller set in a fantasy world that has been described as “Robert Ludlum meets JRR Tolkien” was this:
Ron Howard is directing one of my movies.
Shortly after Landis had mentioned his screenplays Frankenstein, Villains and Me, Him, Her, he shared which of them he’s going to direct himself.
I’m going to direct a movie. I decided I’m going to direct my script Me, Him, Her… let’s see how that turns out…. it’s much smaller. It has a good swordfight in it, though.
Landis, not unlike his father, is a whirlwind of energy. Thankfully, it seems he’s more than capable of focusing that, pouring it into Final Draft and getting it into screenplay form.
I fear he might be writing faster than the film industry can keep up, however, and I do wonder how many of these stories we’re ever going to see realised.
Here’s the full, two-part video.
Thanks to Dread Central for the embeds.