Including “Halloween 9″ and “When a Stranger Calls Back 2″
If there’s one man in Hollywood right now, whose typewriter keys would be in dire need of replacing – it’s screenwriter Jake Wade Wall. Since arriving on the scene a few years back – his biggest credit to date would be the recent success story “When a Stranger Calls” – the youngster has become to ‘go to man’ for some of the big studio projects, especially anything that’ll inexorably encompass a bit of corn syrup or a wind machine when it gets underway. I had the chance to chat to the good-natured writer today, and we discussed some of his forthcoming projects, including the long awaited 9th instalment of “Halloween”.
Halloween : The Missing Years
“I’ve been hired three different times for it”, says Wade Wall, of the ninth “Halloween” movie (at one stage titled “Halloween Retribution”). “And at times it was really exciting, and at other times, it really wasn’t. Then, with the whole Miramax debacle, everything kind of stopped on their franchises for a while. Having said that, it looks like it’s finally set to go. “I know that they’re in the process of nailing down a really big director…but I haven’t been able to figure out who it is yet”. Good news for the film, but not necessarily for Jake – whose words might be toyed with. “The problem is, that whoever this big director is, apparently fancies himself a bit of a writer-director. I do know that it’s my script that they’re going off, but that’s about it…
The self-confessed “amazing idea” he came up with for this latest film, “Halloween : The Missing Years”, involves filling in the mislaid days of Michael Myers formative years. “I wanted to breathe new life into the franchise…something new”, says Wade Wall, explaining that we never found out much about what happened to Myers before he first escaped the mental institution as a younger.
So would Jamie she Lee Curtis be involved in the new movie? “No. Didn’t she get her head chopped off or something in the last one? What I wanted to do was to say, forget about all of those old characters. This is about Michael. There will be new characters – new kids. And it will be set around Michael’s real home ‘Smith’s Grove’, which is where the asylum was, some 150 miles away from Haddonfield”.
Speaking of everything Michael Myers, Robert ‘Freddy’ Englund has apparently been trying to convince New Line and Dimension to team up on a “Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael” movie, but the Akkads, the owners of the ‘Michael’ character – and consequently, the “Halloween” series – aren’t going to play ball. “The Akkads are very protective of Michael. They’re amazing people…I don’t think it’ll happen”, says Wade Wall.
His new film…
“You know Vertigo Entertainment, they did The Grudge and The Ring and everything? I’ve been a fan of theirs for years, as they have been of me, so we’ve just made the deal to work on this cool new horror film…it’s going to be awesome. It’s at Universal. As of right now, it’s untitled, but I can guarantee it’s going to be pretty cool”.
“I have this other script, an original, called Amusement and they’re just about to get going on that. Bernard Rose was going to direct it, but that didn’t work out…. but we’re ready to start shooting that this Summer, I think. I’m really excited about it, because it’s an original, and it’s really difficult to get something original done in Hollywood, as you’d know”. The film, similar in set-up to “Creepshow” (1982), is an anthology of different horror stories – one involving a truck, another involving a clown, and so on.
When a Stranger Calls 2
Sony’s Screen Gems are apparently ecstatic about how well the first film went, so have put the sequel on the fast-track – at this stage, it’s not known whether it’ll carry the “When a Stranger Calls Back” title.
Having now gotten over some of those bad reviews for the first film (“C’mon, It was really only the first ten minutes of the original, that was scary. The rest was terrible. It became almost unwatchable. It surprised me how angry a lot of the critics got by what I did”), Wade Wall is now at work on the sequel, which will most likely again star Camille Belle. “We started working on the sequel before the first film came out, and I’m really excited about it.” One of the criticisms of the first film was that we didn’t find much out about the killer – in the sequel, we will. “A lot of people got so pissed about that. That was something I had personal pride in…but absolutely [we will find out more about him]”. And again, if it’s an “out and out sequel”, then pretty young Camilla Belle will “definitely be back” to play the terrorised babysitter again.
“It was a lot of fun because I thought ‘why the hell, would you remake this…it is a great film!” says Wade Wall, “But they kind of gave me creative liberty to reinvent it”.
Things have changed a lot since 1986, says Wade Wall, most notably, the idea of hitchhiking. It’s just not a done thing anymore – both to hitchhike and to pick up a hitchhiker. “The problem these days – I don’t know about in Australia, but here – nobody picks up hitchhikers anymore. So I had to work on making the villain a lot cleverer… more calculated.”
The heroes, this time, will be “a couple. A guy and a girl. A young couple going on the road together”.
Yes, it was both a guy and a girl (C.Thomas Howell and Kari Wuhrer) in the little-seen direct-to-video sequel “The Hitcher II: I’ve been Waiting for You”, but Wade Wall stresses it won’t be like that. “It’s funny…I had just got the job for the Hitcher, when that turned up on Cable. It was pretty bad…you have to believe they’re a couple, for a start”.
Any casting ideas? “At one point I heard something as outrageous as – and this was last Summer – Kevin Spacey (as the Hitcher) and Scarlett Johansson”.
And what about the more recent rumours that Jessica Biel might be playing the heroine? Could be something to that, he says. After the Spacey/Johansson rumours, he said it “Turned into Jessica Biel and Sam Rockwell”. He’s unsure who’s involved at this point in time though.
“I think they’re getting ready to shoot this Summer. They’re using Dave Meyers, one of the music video geniuses out here.”
– CLINT MORRIS
Thanks to ‘Jake’