Cordes, Joshua and O'Donnell, Liam (Skyline, Skyline 2)
In these turbulent economic times, filmmakers - like many business oriented folk - play things pretty close to the vest. They invest thoughtfully and make their moves with a certain amount of secrecy. They do their best to make sure that they have a winner on their hands before they even start thinking about things like sequels or franchises.
It just makes good business sense.
So naturally there was a certain amount of surprise in media circles when filmmakers Colin and Greg Strause (AVP: Requiem) recently announced a sequel to their upcoming film, Skyline. The reasoning behind this consternation is that Skyline is not due for release until November 12, 2010. For a property other than, for example, an established literary series (which has its own built-in audiences), it is a bold and daring move. But with their innovative formula of filmmaking, the brothers are so convinced they have a hit on their hands that they are willing to commit to a sequel before Skyline has even seen the light of day.
Dread Central spoke with Skyline's writers, Liam O’Donnell and Joshua Cordes, and they shed some light on the plans they and the Strause Brothers have in store for audiences.
DC: In Variety recently there was an article that said there’s already been a sequel green-lit for Skyline even though the film hasn’t yet been released. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Liam O’Donnell: It was one of those things that wasn’t necessarily pre-planned, but the closer we got to the end of the movie, the more we felt that our characters had gotten to a really interesting place. We wanted to see more of them and thought a sequel would have a different dynamic than what we had in the first one. When Josh and I sat down and did the treatment, we were like, “Wow, this is insane!” So when we pitched it to Greg and Colin, we said, “All right, let’s see what they think.” [laughs] Greg started making Predator noises… [laughs]
Joshua Cordes: And we’d never seen that before. [laughs]
Liam O’Donnell: Colin was humming, and they were both like, “This is going to be fucking huge!”
DC: So, will the sequel be bigger?
Liam O’Donnell: Skyline had eight hundred FX shots… the next one is going to have more like sixteen hundred. A lot of times people will say that the sequel is “twice the size”; Skyline 2 will literally be twice the size.
DC: Was it a challenge to come up with another story so quickly?
Joshua Cordes: What we didn’t want to do was a rehash, you know? We got the story to a certain point and thought, “Well, what can we do now?” Having gone through the process of working on Skyline, we know - even with how we like to work with the more streamlined production - the places where we could be a little more crazy and wild and the places where we needed to be more grounded. It’s a kind of knowing where the limits are and where you can push them.
DC: Without giving anything away, is all of the cast on-board for the sequel?
Liam O’Donnell: Uhhhh… That would be giving things away. [laughs]
DC: Is it enough to say that the people who need to be there have all agreed to be there when the time comes?
Liam O’Donnell: No, I don’t want to say anything. Like Josh has always said, one of the pluses of having our cast be made up of people who are not “stars” is that no one really knows who is going to live and who is going to die in the movie. We don’t want to tip our hand for any of that right now. After Skyline comes out, we will give you more information.
Joshua Cordes: That was the whole thing with War of the Worlds; you know Tom Cruise isn’t going to get blasted in the face with a Martian death ray…
DC: If only…
Liam O’Donnell: I can say that all of the creative people - Greg, Colin, Josh, Kristian James Andresen, and myself - are definitely going to be back. The five guys that have been making decisions on Skyline are going to be back for Skyline 2.
Joshua Cordes: From a post-production standpoint, I’ve been sitting down and animating shots and working with the artists and helping to get stuff through. All of the creative team have been working crazy hours because they are so jazzed about the project. They have all been hoping that a sequel will happen because they want to be a part of it, too. That’s the fun thing because this thing is all so homegrown, everyone feels like they’re part of it.
DC: Has anything particular inspired you in writing Skyline?
Liam O’Donnell: We had a couple of sequel inspirations, but one of our big ones was… Put it this way, if Skyline is Mad Max, then Skyline 2 is Road Warrior. We’re this gritty, independent production, and we’re going to keep that same aesthetic and that same model but widen the scope and the world and the action.
DC: Has there been any discussion about projected start dates. I mean, I know Skyline is not even out yet, but is this the next thing you all are going to jump onto?
Liam O’Donnell: We’re weighing our options between that and another project that Josh and I are writing at the same time, which we refer to as “an action disaster project.” It’s going to be a little dependent on Skyline coming out and what its reception is, but we’re pretty confident, because of the model and the price point that we’ve made this film on, that we’re going to be successful. I don’t want to say it’s foolproof, but we’re very confident that we’ll be in a position to make the sequel.
Skyline is in theaters November 12, 2010.
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