Exclusive: André Øvredal talks Scary Stories sequel & The Long Walk
While chatting with the writer/director for his latest project, the fantasy action pic Mortal, ComingSoon.net took a walk down future lane with André Øvredal to discuss his work developing the upcoming Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark sequel and adaptation of Stephen King’s The Long Walk!
After spending over a decade in the lap of frequent King adapter Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption), the rights to the 1979 dystopian novel finally lapsed and were acquired by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) and New Line Cinema, with Øvredal being tapped for the the director’s chair in May 2019. While he’s uncertain as to why it’s taken so long to get the project off the ground, he’s excited for what’s to come, even if “COVID is just wrecking everything” trying to into production but promising “it’s alive and well and moving along.”
“I guess in the end, he just didn’t choose to do it, I actually don’t even know if he ever had a script,” Øvredal pondered. “This script was written on spec by James Vanderbilt when he did not even have the rights to it, he just wrote it out of pure love for the book and in the end, suddenly the rights were open and he was able to go to King with his script and say, ‘Can we do this?’ Then New Line bought it and somehow I got involved [laughs].
The story takes place in a dystopian future, where 100 boys are selected for a long walk. They have to maintain speeds of 4 miles an hour, and receive fewer than three warnings an hour. Break these rules, and they’re shot dead. The last one standing, however, gets whatever he wants for the rest of his life. Despite the high stakes, the boys form an unlikely camaraderie along their journey. James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) wrote the screenplay and is producing alongside Bradley Fischer and William Sherak.
In looking at the development process for the forthcoming horror sequel, Øvredal confirmed that the timing for the project is “a little more relaxed with the way the world is right now,” but confirmed that the team is “making headways” and keeping his lips sealed on just which novel spirits we may see in the next film.
“We have a great new story and some fun, scary stories implemented in a good way, I’m very excited about the sequel,” Øvredal brightly expressed. “I shouldn’t [say] and I can’t really, you never know what you can and can not say about these things, it’s hard to talk about at this stage. I know it’s been out there in the public already, so I can’t give away too much [chuckles]. I’m part of the process of developing, not the writing because it’s Dan and Kevin, who wrote the first one, but I’m definitely part of the development process on this one. As you indicated, the original script was developed for Guillermo to direct originally.”
Though the plot for the sequel is being kept under wraps, it’s been confirmed that Dan and Kevin Hageman will also be returning to pen the script based on a story idea from producer Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), who produced the predecessor and also helped craft the story alongside Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (The Collection).
The films are based on a trilogy of children’s horror books first published in 1981 that featured over two dozen horror stories written by Alvin Schwartz and accompanied by chilling illustrations from Stephen Gammell, with the first film adapting “The Big Toe,” “Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!” from the first book and “Harold,” “The Dream” and “The Red Spot” from the third novel.
It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind…but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time — stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark starred Zoe Colletti (Annie), Austin Abrams (Brad’s Status, Tragedy Girls), Gabriel Rush (Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Michael Garza (Wayward Pines, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1), Austin Zajur (Fist Fight, Kidding), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Gil Bellows (Patriot, Jett) and Lorraine Toussaint (Into The Badlands, Selma, Orange Is The New Black) and Natalie Ganzhorn (Make it Pop, Wet Bum).
The first film proved to be a large success, grossing over $106 million worldwide on a $28 million production budget and scored very positive reviews from critics and audiences alike for its horror atmosphere and scares, characters, acting and faithfulness to the stories and Gammell’s illustrations.
Mortal is currently slated to hit select theaters, digital platforms and VOD on November 6!
(Photo Credit: Noam Galai/WireImage)