It’s rare that you can keep a movie’s plot under wraps these days, so the fact that J.J. Abrams managed to keep the development and filming of 10 Cloverfield Lane secret until the moment they dropped the first trailer is positively stunning.
But don’t let the title fool you — this might not be the Cloverfield sequel you were looking for, but it might just be a really good movie. Isn’t that all that really matters? To recap: The project developed from an existing script, and when Abrams came on as a producer, they tapped up-and-comer Dan Trachtenberg to direct and made another pass at the script and retitled it 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Obviously, that set off a full-on geek-out once the trailer hit, as fans expected this project to likely be a direct continuation of Abrams and Matt Reeves’ 2008 monster movie Cloverfield. But Abrams wants to clarify that Lane is its own story — and stands as a “spiritual” successor to the first film. What that means, exactly? We’ll let Abrams muddle through it.
Here’s an excerpt from what he told Empire:
“We knew we wanted to do something like this. This script came to us as a spec script, but as we were developing it and changing a good number of things and making adjustments and doing rewrites it became clear what it could be. Dan [Trachtenberg] came onboard and we code named this like we code name most things and just focused on the story. This was an opportunity to do something that is more rare than it should be in Hollywood films, which is to tell an original story, [and] to do it in a way that is connected as a spiritual successor to Cloverfield.
Yet the focus was not about trying to make a literal sequel. It was about telling the best story we could with characters that were the most believable and colourful, situations that were the most terrifying and unexpected, and so though it became something that was increasingly clear to [the actors], it felt like the best way to go was not to have them be thinking of this in any way as a continuation of anything else, as a parallel story to anything else, as another chapter in one novel. Just to tell the best version of the story. And so that was how we approached it.”
So it basically sounds like they set out to make a cool claustrophobic story — without worrying too much about shoehorning it into the Cloverfield continuity. Which, yeah, is probably the best approach if your focus is on making the best movie (as it should be ). But will we ever get a straight-up monster movie sequel?
Maybe, but Abrams said they don’t just want to make another “Ahhh!” attack film that feels like a Godzilla knockoff. But if they can find the right idea, it could certainly happen at some point down the line:
“Well, we’ve talked about and still even last week I was talking about this with Drew Goddard about what that could be. But because we’re in a moment post-major studio Godzilla, post-Pacific Rim, we don’t want to do a sequel just because we can do another kaiju movie. We don’t want to just jump in and do it - we want to make sure we’re doing something that is worthy of people’s time. But this movie, while it’s not Cloverfield 2, it is a spiritual successor to that movie in a way and there’s a real kinship between the films.
It’s crazy how many people ask me about doing a Cloverfield sequel. I’ve been hearing it for nearly eight years and it got to a point where it felt like there was something to be done. But I didn’t want to do the thing that people might expect just for the sake of it, and I know I’m guilty as anyone of being involved in sequels and remakes and reboots and things. This felt like an opportunity to do something that was both wholly original and also connected to something bigger.”
10 Cloverfield Lane opens March 11.
Does any of this make sense? What do you expect once this one opens?