This writer caught up with screenwriter Patrick Melton (the man behind such frightful fare, along with cohort Marcus Dunstan, as the Feast series, Saw IV through 3D and The Collector) last Thursday night to pick his brain on his current projects–namely, his involvement with Piranha 3DD, The Collection (the latter the sequel to 2009’s The Collector) and his approach to the MGM project The Outer Limits.
“We are now scouting locations and writing Piranha 3 Double D,” said Melton from Shreveport, Louisiana, and although he was unable to communicate the film’s narrative at this early stage, this writer posits that it may or may not have a slight similarity to a 1983 3D sequel featuring another cinematic fish (and if so, this writer hopes for a Dennis Quaid cameo a la Dreyfuss’ inspired casting in this year’s Piranha remake).
“We are shooting to finish the script before Thanksgiving,” continued Melton. “It’s coming together pretty quickly. Marcus and I did a polish (un-credited) on the script of the first (Piranha) so we are pretty familiar with it, and with the evolution of it all, so it’s a continuation. I think we are going to hopefully expand the universe a bit. We are introducing a new set of characters.”
On working once again with filmmaker John Gulager, who is slated to direct Piranha 3DD (Melton and Dunstan’s careers have been intertwined with the director’s ever since 2005’s “Project Greenlight” Season 3, which gave raucous birth to the first Feast film), “We’ve always been working together on certain other projects, like The Neighbor that was set up at Dimension, which never quite went. He and his brother, Tom, also developed this story that Marcus and I had called The Good Doctor, and John wanted to direct it, and it’s pretty hardcore. Pirahna 3DD came up sort of out of the blue, and since we already have the ‘short-hand’ way of communicating with one another, and it needed to be done quickly, it happened. It’s good to be involved with people you know and trust and have worked with together before.”
As for the projected start date of principal photography for Piranha 3DD (Dimension has a slated theatrical release of August 2011), “We have all been reading the Farmer’s Almanac of weather for Louisiana and looking for the best time to shoot,” said Melton. “It’ll be early next year, winter, which means hard nipples all around, but you don’t want the hard nipples to mix with blue skin and shivering girls so we’ll figure it out. When it’s sunny, it’s quite pleasant though.”
With Saw 3D still charting as one of the top ten box office films currently in release, Melton commented on having co-scripted the flick, which has been being marketed as the last in the Jigsaw series.
“It’s a different feeling, having worked on the franchise constantly for four years, and now it’s sort of over. I’m glad we did it, and we may have done some things differently with it, but that’s how it is when you pick a film. It’s a very collaborative effort, but I am happy where it ended up.”
Never one to rest on his laurels, Melton and his co-scribe Dunstan are set to pen the feature length sci-fi flick The Outer Limits for MGM, a film which is positioned as a big-budget jump-start of the heralded 1960’s series of the same name (the project is slated for a 2013 release).
Revealed Melton of the current state of The Other Limits, a script he penned with Dunstan, “MGM is currently going through a management shift so the film is in a state of limbo. The script is done, and it’s very strong. It’s good. It’s a pretty cool twist on the sci-fi genre. Hopefully we’ll have some news on the project in January and will know where it stands.”
Commenting on their take of the material, “We are very familiar with the original show. We’ve seen every episode, and it shaped our approach to the project so we actually incorporated quite a few of the original stories in the script. A point of reference as to how we approached it would be Pulp Fiction, Go or Trick ‘r Treat, [films] that use several different stories that are rolled together to create one big story. It’s very connected, and I think it’s pretty cool.”
The conversation turned then unsurprisingly to Melton’s thoughts on Michael Dougherty’s brilliant 2007 cinematic entry Trick ‘r Treat.
“Trick ‘r Treat is great! It’s really fantastic,” said the writer. “It too had interlocked, criss-crossing stories, which means you can’t really classify it as an anthology because each story seemed to affect another story, which is what we are trying to do as well (with The Outer Limits). Trick ‘r Treat is probably the latest example of that type of storytelling. I remember when I first saw the trailer for the film, it was mind-blowing, and it communicated everything you sort of knew and felt about Halloween. The film did the same thing. It’s shocking to me that a movie like that couldn’t find the proper distribution.”
As for The Collection, Melton’s co-scripted-with-Dunstan sequel to last year’s The Collector (Dunstan is slated to return once again to the director’s chair for the follow-up), “We are supposed to start shooting January 18 (of next year) in Atlanta, Georgia, so with any project that starts barreling towards production, it takes up a lot of our focus and energy.”
We prodded a bit regarding the production.
“It’s quite bit bigger film,” says Melton, “and it’s shooting in a more accessible city. We found this location, and I can’t really say what it is, but it was originally a very rich and peculiar man’s home, and it was eventually turned into a mental health facility, and then it was abandoned, and we are going to shoot in it, and it’s going to be great. It’s got weird hallways and doors that lead to brick walls. It’s very cool.”
“Other than that,” wrapped Melton, “there’s this television show we have with Clive Barker, called ‘Red, White & Black’. It’s sort of a genre show that we are shopping to companies as we speak so we might have a firm announcement in a couple of months or so. We are looking to go to cable. We’ve had a lot of trouble with genre shows for the networks. During pitch season every network says, ‘We want to do horror,’ but when it comes time to turn in the script, they’ll read it, and say, ‘We have no clue where to put this in our line-up so we don’t know what to do with it.’ You see, though, with the success of something like ‘The Walking Dead’, cable is a more viable platform for genre shows.”
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Collect yourselves in the comments section below!