Seth Grahame-Smith is the creator of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, author of the original novel and credited writer of the feature film. Yesterday, I shared his illuminating comments on that picture and how it ended up coming together in just the way that it did.
But Grahame-Smith and I spoke about other projects too, including the Beetlejuice sequel that he’s been working on.
It’s probably best to stress that the film is, as Grahame-Smith said, “just theoretical right now,” but development is definitely underway, and everybody involved is keen for it to happen.
So what is he planning? What would this Beetlejuice sequel entail?
Here’s what Grahame-Smith had to tell me about his work on the film, just what made the first one work, and how he’s going to try and preserve that this time around. You’ll see that he’s taking great pains not to stuff things up.
If we come up with nothing but shit then we’re not going to do it. Beetlejuice, I think, is too important to too many people, myself included, and Tim, and Michael Keaton, to do a sequel just for the sake of it, because we’d think it would be commercial. It’s one of my favourite movies of all time. I still have the original 1988 poster in my office, framed, above my desk. It was an important and seminal movie for me. I want to find a way, so badly, to get it right, but I am so absolutely horrified at the thought of getting it wrong that we’re taking our time and being really careful about it. Though I have talked to Tim quite a bit about it, and I have talked to Michael quite a bit.
But here’s the problem. Beetlejuice was a wonderful accident. It has, of course, irreverence, visual inventiveness and daring, and it has subversive humour in it. Endless inventiveness. But, really, when they put it together, and Tim will tell you this, David Geffen will tell you this, and Michael Keaton will tell you this, that when they first put it together it just didn’t work. That was a movie that miraculously and strangely came together in editing. They found this wonderful, strange, irreverent movie in there.
That’s the scariest part for me – essentially I’m trying to catch lightning in a bottle. The chance of creating something transcendent twice is very slim.
But I think the magic ingredient is trying not to over do it. Not to make it some crazy, overblown big Beetlejuice Saves the World type of story. Frankly, Beetlejuice himself is only in the original movie for about a half hour. I think using him sparingly is key. And not trying to make it so modern, family friendly and broad but to cling to the things that made it a little dangerous.
And obviously we’re not remaking the movie or rebooting it. It would be a sequel, and however much time has passed between the two movies, that’s the amount of time that will have passed in the story.
And then he stopped. Nothing more can be shared, yet. It’s all still pretty secret.
Oh, I’m really rooting for them to get this right. I absolutely love the first film, and have see it countless times, including eight goes-around on the big screen. I’d love another instalment that works.