Dredd is a little over a week away here in the UK, three weeks away in the US, and so the PR pile-up is growing ever higher. You won’t be seeing much of director Pete Travis in the various interviews, featurettes and other associated marketing pieces, but you will be hearing a lot from Alex Garland.
Credited as a producer and the screenwriter for the film, it’s becoming clear that Garland was very, very involved with many of the key decisions on Dredd. He’s taken great pride in this film, and has worked really hard to realise something smart, ambitious and unexpected.
In an outreach to the fans, Garland took part in a Q&A session via the 2000AD Online forum, answering questions from the concerned, the keen and the downright Dredd-addicted. There were plenty of opportunities for him to ease their worries, some moments where he conspicuously talked around any mention of Travis, and also lots of chat about prospective sequels.
I know that it’s this sequel chat that’s going to get the fan flames burning hottest – for some reason, that’s how online film discussion always seems to go, and while I don’t really get it, there’s been time for me to discuss Dredd in other ways already, and will be again.
Anyway, knowing these are what most people will want to read right now, here they are: Alex Garland’s comments on possible Dredd follow-ups.
If I was involved in a second movie, it would be about origins and subversion, and Chopper would feature. In fact, I think Chopper would start and end the story. Apart from him, my rough plan involves Fargo, Giant, Angel Gang, and a version of Satanus. For a trilogy, add Cal and the Dark Judges. And Anderson would be in all three. But… just to be clear, this is hugely speculative and also unlikely, for any number of reasons… There are some variables which would rule me out [of any sequel] immediately.
I think I’d try to make [the Dark Judges] really scary. Not play them for laughs. Just make them totally malevolent and lethal. And use practical effects where possible, except for Fire, which would be an on-set nightmare.
The existential side to the Dark Judges is that they don’t see a point to life. If my film-trilogy daydream was to play out, I would completely rewrite my original script for the Dark Judges – because it was junk – and start again.
If there is a sequel, I’m imagining spending about half the movie in the Cursed Earth, and I would try to come up with some new faces as well as some old ones… I quite like the idea of Satanus. But much more mutated.
But by the way, just so it has been said, I actually think that maybe the best way forward for Dredd is television. American TV has completely rewritten the rule book where filmed drama is concerned. Game Of Thrones/The Wire/Breaking Bad… An equivalent version of Dredd would be fucking great. Imagine the epics…
Dredd isn’t an entirely successful film, but it is always engaging, it’s idiosyncratic and feels fairly fresh in many respects, and is certainly about something. I’d recommend it to anyone.