One of the big successes of the 2010 indie world was “Monsters,” the ultra-low budget sci-fi picture which became a sensation after it premiered at SXSW. Made on a miniscule budget, with hugely impressive effects created on an off-the-shelf computer, it followed two Americans trying to travel across an area of Central America devestated by huge alien creatures. It was an off-beat, original take on the genre, and marked the arrival of some major new talents — and indeed, helmer Gareth Edwards was picked out to direct a new reboot of “Godzilla,” which remains in development, while star Scoot McNairy has gone on to major roles in “Killing Them Softly,” “Argo” and “Twelve Years A Slave.”
The film wasn’t a huge crossover hit (we’d argue that it got a rather botched release stateside), but made some impressive coin internationally and on home video, and as such, talk of a sequel has been going on even before the film arrived in theaters. While Edwards has expressed little interest in returning, he’s on board to executive produce, and last year, short film helmers Brent Bonacarso and Jesse Atlas were announced as directors. Word’s been quiet since then, but it seems that there’s been a bit of change in personnel, with two fast-rising talents coming on board.
Screen Daily have announced their latest annual line-up of Stars of Tomorrow, and in the process have checked in on some of their picks from last year, including names like John Boyega, Douglas Booth and MyAnna Buring. Also among them was screenwriter Jay Basu, who has a new take on “Merlin” in development at Working Title Films, and who co-wrote the script for sports drama “Fast Girls,” which just hit U.K cinemas this past weekend. And it would seem according to Screen that he’s now been brought on board to tackle the “Monsters” sequel, which now has the title “Monsters: The Dark Continent.”
And there’s a new director to go with him. Bonacarso and Atlas seem to have have fallen off, and Tom Green (not that one) has come on board to replace them. Green’s been on our radar for a while now, since his outstanding student film “Brixton 85,” and has gone on to serious success as one of the major directors on cult British superhero drama “Misfits.” He’s come close to a feature debut a few times now — he was linked to the Stone Roses movie “Spike Island” for a while, before Mat Whitecross replaced him, and he’s also attached to a low-budget crime thriller called “Grass” at Focus Features. But he seems to be firmly in place on the “Monsters” follow-up, and we have to say he’s a great choice, someone more committed to story and character than simply being a visual effects whiz.
As far as we can tell, there’s no firm start date on the project, so we wouldn’t go counting all your chickens before they hatch. But backers Vertigo Films could easily have turned this into a quickie sequel, and that they’re taking their time on it, and that they’ve hired some impressive young talent to make it, gives reason for optimism that this could be more than just your average sequel. More news as it comes in on this one.