Production Weekly has learned that J.J. Abrams will start shooting Super 8 in late September on location in Weirton, West Virginia. Produced by Steven Spielberg, the Paramount Pictures film is targeting a summer 2011 release.
While the production is keeping the story under wraps, a few viral sites for the movie have come online this year at ScariestThingIEverSaw.com and RocketPoppeteers.com (which also has a Twitter account).
Meanwhile, reports by The Associated Press have turned up the news that Weirton residents have received letters on the filming, apparently moving forward under the fake title Darlings. The shoot, scheduled to last two to three months, is said to take place primarily on the town’s Main Street. The plot, “revolves around a 14-year-old boy and is set in a steel town in 1979.”
These details would seem to confirm a three month old report by /Film that suggested open calls for a J.J. Abrams project may be related to Super 8. Followups debunked the rumor, suggesting that the casting was instead for a J.J. Abrams-produced remake of the 1980 film Little Darlings. Now, it’s looking like the original report was accurate and that Little Darlings may be a fake production after all.
The casting sides as they originally appeared are as follows:
JOSH: Male 13-14. Josh is cute, but could be on the scrawny side definitely not the school jock. Loveable, empathetic, smart and interesting. Must have a great sense of humor. Should have a Midwestern feel.
COLLIN: Male 13-14. Slightly, or more than slightly, overweight. Collin is confident, driven, optimistic and a natural leader. Must have a great sense of humor. Should have a Midwestern feel.
NATALIE: Female 13-14. A natural beauty she is stunning, but not the “cheerleader” type. Strong and confident, but has an underlying sadness. Should have a Midwestern feel.
UPDATE: Is Super 8 shooting under multiple fake titles? Another report by WOWK has turned up a Paramount production with the title Wickham, described as being “about a group of teenagers who spend summers together and share the struggles of growing older.” It is also noted that the press release for Wickham lists an anticipated PG-13 rating. Production is slated to begin in late September in Weirton, but is listed as going for less than a month.
Athena Wickham is the name of a longtime Bad Robot Creative Executive.
UPDATE #2: Further casting details (under the title Wickham appear in the Weirton Daily Times where it noted that the call is being put out for “middle school and high school aged people, police, soldier and EMT types as well as townspeople.” Full details are supposed to be announced today at the town’s Marland Heights 5K Classic.
In this article, the plot is similarly described as being about a group of teens, but lists the inciting incident as “a train crash [that] forces the town to come together.” A train crash is also the focus of the events in the Super 8 teaser trailer, which you can watch using the player below.