In preparation for Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut with the highly anticipated “10 Cloverfield Lane,” the filmmaker took to Reddit to engage with his fans about his new work. As the so-called “spiritual-successor” of Matt Reeves’ 2008 “Cloverfield,” the new feature centers on one woman’s deeply strange after surviving a car crash. After a wham-bam crash, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up in a strange man’s underground bunker, paranoid that she has been kidnapped by the man (John Goodman) who claims to have saved her from the accident, she is then told that the outside world has been leveled by a chemical attack. It’s a pickle.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” hits theaters nationwide this Friday, March 11. Check out some of the highlights from Trachtenberg’s Reddit AMA below.
Whose decision was it to announce the film so late, and how did you get that past the studio?
It actually was a decision that came from a collaboration between JJ [Abrams] and the studio, which I think was so awesome. This rarely happens, releasing a movie in such a surprising fashion, and it certainly hearkens back to the way the original “Cloverfield” was marketed. And, it certainly is as exciting as when I was a kid, and finding out about a movie from its trailer.
Does “10 Cloverfield Lane” take place in the same universe as the first film?
So, “10 Cloverfield Lane” and “Cloverfield” are two different stories. They’re on different timelines. But, I think the exciting thing is that now “Cloverfield” is becoming a universe, and there are some connections. And hopefully, there will continue to be more connections.
Would you direct a full length “Portal/Half-Life” movie if you could?
I think that would be really exciting. I know that those movies are certainly a development and I really did enjoy making that short. But, I only just finished this movie and I have no idea what I’m going to do next now.
Different timelines meaning, the events of “Cloverfield” did NOT happen in “10 Cloverfield Lane”? If that’s the case, how can there be a “Cloverfield” Universe?
The “Cloverfield” universe, or “Cloververse,” is really speaking to the name taking on this new meaning, this name being this platform to tell really unique, original stories that are truly bound by that same tone, that same sensibility. Always very intense and scary and unique takes on familiar genres. I think what was so exciting about the originally “Cloverfield” is that it was such a unique take on a familiar genre, and it being this found footage experience, this first person experience.
This movie is more classically, traditionally told, but I still went through great strides to make it feel less like something that you watch, and more like something that you experience. Frankly I’m so inspired by video games these days and took note from the idea that there’s a shorthand in first person shooter where you feel like you are the protagonist, but that same feeling comes across in all of the great 3rd person action/adventure games like the Uncharted’s or even “Last of Us.” This movie is a 3rd person narrative that I still wanted to feel subjective, and I still wanted you to really feel like you were in the shoes of the main character.
I always wanted to make movies my whole life, but I started out making commercials. And a lot of the commercials that I did were very slice-of-life, emotional, documentary style; not big, and cinematic, and ultimately like the kind of movie that I wanted to make. So, I decided to do a short film that really spoke to what I wanted to do, ultimately, in making movies. I remember seeing a lot of really cool shorts that had this awesome special effects with big robots, and aliens, and things that I love, but I really was drawn to the idea of making a short where the special effects were more interesting and intellectual.
I’m a huge fan of Spike Jonze, and Michel Gondry, and I love the idea that there could be something really visceral and exciting, and action-based. But that’s also so different, and I think it was cool to adapt a puzzle game. A puzzle game is very unlike “Halo” or “Uncharted”; those games are very cinematic properties. And taking a game like “Portal” that I thought at the time especially was inherently uncinematic, and trying to figure out a way to make that really feel like that could be a big awesome movie, was really exciting.
READ MORE: Watch: First Trailer For Surprise ‘Cloverfield’ Spinoff ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ With Mary Elizabeth Winstead & John Goodman