Max Landis on Chronicle 2

In a cinematic era dominated by the superhero movie, it’s rare to come across something fresh and exciting, or indeed even vaguely original. Last years’ Chronicle, written by Max Landis and directed by Josh Trank, was such a beast. It took the classic Spider-Man premise of high-school senior acquires superpowers, but took efforts to set it in the “real world”: its difficult to think about using your newfound abilities for the greater good when you’ve got your own shitty life to contend with. The film also went a long way to revitalizing the hackneyed “found footage” format.

Alex Russell, who played the de facto protagonist, sensitive jock Matt, is due to appear in Carrie, Kimberly Peirce‘s readaptation of the classic Stephen King novel, while tormented, Nietzsche-quoting “antagonist” Andrew, Dane DeHaan, has graduated to the role of Harry Osborne in Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, previously played by James Franco in the Sam Raimi trilogy. Trank, meanwhile, is set to direct Marvel’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot while Landis has set to work on Chronicle 2, an obvious career move given the original’s $126 million box office on a budget of $12 million.

However, in an interview with IndieWire back in October, John Landis, director of ’80s classics Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London, as well as Max Landis’ father, suggested that Fox Studios was unhappy with the direction the sequel was taking, saying that “[Max] wrote a sequel and it’s amazing, and the studio read it and said, ‘We want Chronicle again!’ And he said, ‘No, this is the sequel, it’s the evolution, and they said ‘No, we want that movie again!’ So it’s difficult, we’re dealing with a difficult business.”

However, in an appearance at Middle East Film & Comic Con last weekend, Max downplayed any issues during an interview with IGN Middle East:

Chronicle 2 is in an interesting place right now. It’s moving along. There was this whole announcement that they wanted to just do the same thing again because my father said that. My father is not involved in Chronicle 2. He doesn’t know the process, it was not his place to say that. The truth is when you have a movie that was as successful as Chronicle was, it’s not as quick of a process. There are a lot more voices coming in and saying ‘This is what the sequel should be’ because there’s a bigger expectation and a bigger fear of failure. And that’s really what’s going on with Chronicle 2. Josh (Trank) is directing Fantastic Four. I’m doing a hundred other movies. Chronicle 2 has become this question of ‘How do we all make a movie that we all respect?’. And that’s true to what Chronicle is. There’s no one at the studio who wants to make a bad movie. They all want to make a good movie just as much as I do. We’re not fighting.’

Landis Jr. claims that although the sequel’s script is “really dark”, it’s just a matter of compromise. Reports suggest that Fox was interested in another standalone movie following a new group of teenagers who acquire powers while Landis wanted to pick up in the aftermath of the first film with the showdown between Matt and Andrew having destroyed a large section of downtown Seattle and presumably having exposed them to the world.

Despite the rumors, Max has promised that “Chronicle 2 will happen eventually” with a 60-75% chance of being “a pretty damn good movie”. Cautious optimism tempered with refreshing honesty? We at AP2HYC can get behind that.

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Robert Wallis

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