PEEK INSIDE 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
EMPIRE UNCOVERS THE CONTENTS OF J.J. ABRAMS’ LATEST MYSTERY BOX
BACK IN 2007, WHEN the first teaser for Cloverfield dropped from the sky like the Statue Of Liberty’s head, it took the movie world by surprise. Until that moment, nobody even knew it existed — somehow, producer J. J. Abrams and director Matt Reeves had made a giant monster movie completely in secret.
Now Abrams, who likens cinema to a mystery box, has done it again. On January 15, a trailer hit for a thriller called 10 Cloverfield Lane. Directed by newcomer Dan Trachtenberg, it stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a young lady who finds herself trapped in a nuclear bunker with two men (John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr.). The trailer is largely dialogue-free, but it seems fairly clear that something bad has happened on the surface. Something that could involve a monster...
The title is not a coincidence. Shortly after the trailer broke, various Cloverfield websites, which had lain dormant since the 2008 movie, sparked back into life. Abrams, who once again produces, has stopped short of calling the new movie a sequel, but in his only public pronouncement on the film to date, he did use the term “blood relative”. So this may not be Cloverfield 2, rather an extension of the franchise.
But here’s where it gets interesting. Soon after the announcement, a theory emerged, claiming that 10 Cloverfield Lane had actually started life as a lowbudget thriller called Valencia, and then The Cellar. There are records of that movie, including an announcement of Winstead’s casting, in September 2014. The theory goes that when Paramount Insurge, the division behind the movie, was absorbed back into Paramount, The Cellar was left in, well, the cellar. Then, it’s alleged, some bright spark had an idea: take The Cellar, do some quick reshoots to tie it into the Cloverfield universe and voilà: instant cash.
Do a bit of digging online and you can find reports from an early test screening of The Cellar that contains no references to monsters. But then, the movie has been a Bad Robot production from the off — and it certainly wouldn’t be beyond Abrams and co. to engage in epic misdirection, right down to the removal of any Cloverfield links from test screenings. So, which will it prove to be — genuine Cloverfield sequel? Clever marketing gimmick? Or just a film about how scary it would be to be trapped in an enclosed space with John Goodman? We’ll find out soon...
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE IS OUT ON MARCH 18.