148 posts tagged movies
148 posts tagged movies
What fans of Zombieland may not realize is that the 2009 hit movie, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, was originally imagined as a TV series.
“We wrote it in 2005 as a spec pilot and sold it to CBS and – this was pre-Walking Dead – and the idea was that zombies had been so successful on the big screen but they have never really been tapped on the small screen,” Paul said. “The success of Zombieland in some ways paved the way for The Walking Dead to be on-air, and The Walking Dead is obviously a huge success. We’re so happy to be back on TV.”
Zombieland: The Series, is one of 14 Amazon original pilots now playing for free at Amazon Instant Video and LOVEFiLM. Viewer response will help determine which of these shows return with full seasons.
We asked with Paul and Rhett about zombies, their cast, and what the future might hold for their characters.
There are a lot of zombie stories out there, but you but you guys have taken it in a direction that I think is more humorous than one might expect, post-apocalypse.
Rhett: Well I think what we wanted to do is to treat the post-apocalypse like an escapist fantasy. There are a lot of post-apocalyptic stories like The Road and similar movies that treat the post apocalypse as a grim experience as it likely would be in real life, but we thought we wanted to turn it on its head a little bit and imagine the post-apocalyptic landscape as a fun one, and one where you could be free and do the kind of things that you wanted to do. Maybe you were the last guy on Earth and maybe there was a cute girl who is also alive, and what would that mean? So we wanted to look at the post-apocalyptic world as a playground full of toys and full of zombies to bash over the head and full of fun experiences and that was a jumping off point for us.
Paul: It’s kind of like Los Angeles during the holiday season when everyone goes out of town, and traffic is a lot less and the air is cleaner and people are happier and we thought my God, that feels a little bit of what it would be like in the post-apocalypse, except you’re being chased by zombies. So the wish fulfillment of that world is something that we really wanted to tap into that really sets us apart from all the other zombie projects, the idea that again you can drive Lamborghinis. You can just go to the Lamborghini dealership and grab a yellow Lamborghini if you wanted to. And you could get the hot girl because, you know, there aren’t a lot of choices out there.
Friends with a dream of creating something amazing, something that the public can’t get enough of – this could describe the characters in Betas, a new comedy set in the world of Silicon Valley startups. It also could describe the guys who created the show, Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard.
They met while working at Alexander Payne’s production company, and started writing together. Their first optioned work is Betas, one of 14 Amazon original pilots now playing for free at Amazon Instant Video and LOVEFiLM. Viewer response will help determine which of these children’s shows and comedies return with full seasons.
We asked Evan and Josh about their show, what they learned from working at Alexander Payne’s production company and how they tapped into the impact that social media has made on our culture as a whole.
Where did you come up with the idea for Betas?
EVAN: I worked with a producer named Michael London on the film Sideways and he called me out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in doing TV and this was right after Josh and I had just finished writing a pilot together. We spoke with him about the idea for a ½ hour comedy about an Internet startup. We both thought that was a fascinating place to spend some time mentally and we were shocked that nobody had done it yet. Right away the idea of it being a social media startup was both obvious and important to us, especially to explore that aspect of our culture where so many young people are connected – more so than any time in history – yet how that creates its own isolation and set of problems. It just seemed of the moment.
You met while working at Alexander Payne’s production company. Did your background in the development world affect the way you approached writing the show?
EVAN: Absolutely. I’ve written a lot of notes and deconstructed a lot of scripts that it was extremely helpful. We made fewer mistakes as a result of reading so much material and deconstructing it.
JOSH: For me I have a tendency to be very precious with my writing and being partnered with Evan has been good in that regard as he’s able to get us to take two steps back and shuffle things around in new and interesting way than I am less willing to concede and try initially.
Tell us about the pilot.
JOSH: It’s about 4 unlikely friends who are trying to launch a social media startup in Silicon Valley. We watch them try to find new ways to improve and engineer other people’s social lives while they fail in their own lives and engage in relationships.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For James Abrams, writer of Dreamcatchers, the latest movie project added to the Amazon Studios development slate, it came from a series of nightmares he experienced while sick with the H1N1 flu virus.
The unrelenting visions James experienced during his illness made him think about what would happen if nightmares crossed over into the real world. He started to explore the concept and wrote what became Dreamcatchers – the story of an insomniac security guard who must help stop the worst nightmares from destroying our world.
A lifelong fan of comic books, James attended art school and later went on to produce and write a comic of his own called Archaic, which was independently published by Fenickx Productions in 2005. Soon after, he caught the screenwriting bug, starting out with more violent, action-oriented scripts which he describes as “something that Bruce Willis could be in.”
We spoke to James about his dreams, his script and what made him switch to more family-friendly material.
Tell us about the story of Dreamcatchers.
James: The story is about this secret organization that captures nightmares and takes them into the real world. Our protagonist is a guy named Nick, who had one of these nightmares when he was very young and it has made him into an insomniac. He works as a night watchman and during the day he’s a computer tech, and eventually he gets involved with the Dreamcatchers who recruit him. Because of his insomnia, he is able to understand the nightmare’s powers.
“No good film is too long. No bad movie is short enough.”
Amazon Studios continues to expand its feature film development slate with two new projects that couldn’t be more different, yet both come from very personal experiences. One is a charming romantic comedy featuring libidinous seniors and the other is a science fiction/fantasy adventure that has nightmares crossing over into the real world.
Andrew Wasif came up with the idea for The 70-Year Itch from regular visits to his grandparents’ and great uncles’ at their apartment in an independent living facility for active seniors. “It was like a dorm for the elderly,” he said.
James Abrams also got his idea for Dreamcatchers from visits, but of a different kind – regular, intense nightmares he suffered when he contracted the H1N1 virus. “The story follows a traditional structure as it is pretty much a hero’s journey, but the genesis came from this very crazy experience that I had. “
Details on the projects:
Writer: Andrew Wasif
Logline: After moving into an independent living facility for seniors shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary, Eli and Evelyn Mitchell decide to separate and play the field.
Why we optioned it: The 70-Year-Itch is a heartwarming and wonderfully funny script that proves it’s never too late to fall in love all over again.
From the writer: “We take for granted and that our elders are just like us, only with orthopedic socks and 4 p.m. dinners. Also, it became hilariously clear that we may grow older, but we don’t always grow up. I was very close to my relatives and this script was a fun way to pay tribute to them.”
Writer: James Abrams
Genre: sci-fi/fantasy, action/adventure
Logline: An insomniac security guard is enlisted to become a Dreamcatcher and help stop the worst nightmares from destroying our world.
Why we optioned it: This is an engaging and fun fantasy, action-adventure script that has tremendous commercial appeal. James establishes an incredibly imaginative world dealing with an affliction that is universal but rarely ever discussed: Nightmares are real!
From the writer: “I was having very bad nightmares and hallucinations and I’d wake up and just want them to go away. After I got better, I thought what would happen if nightmares crept into real life. I have a massive fear of needles and I have a nightmare in there and it’s basically with a ballerina that has a prosthetic hand/arm but the fingers are all hypodermic needles which came directly from my experience. It is pretty horrifying.”
See the full Amazon Studios Movie Development Slate.
- Sean Wicks