'The Darkness'

2012
Film
Dir. Simon Foster
Wr. Simon Foster & Ron Aberdeen
Role: Greg Stonehaven.


News:

• 2012 Jan 26 A casting call
offered some new details:
To be filmed February/March, 2012 [ETA: postponed] in New Orleans, LA & Vancouver, Canada.
Cast Scout Taylor-Compton, Christopher Eccleston, Shawn Roberts, Michael Biehn, Brenda Blethyn.
Executive producers AVT Shankardass, Kevin Phelan, Michael Cowan, Pam Wallace.
Producers Demetris Kyriacou, Colin Bates.
Story When the world is plunged into permanent darkness, a family from the UK [on] vacations in America is pushed to its limits to survive.


• Oct
Project is expected to restart with new producers.

• Aug 27
According to Stealth Media Group's site, shooting to start February 13, 2012. ETA: Sep 15 Now changed to just 'pre-production'.

• Jul 20
CE might not be in the project (going by the absence of this title among his new projects as listed at the Masterclass)?

• Jul 18
Shoot postponed, details to follow.

The sci-fi/horror film will start shooting July 18, 2011 in Louisiana, USA. Expected to be released first second third quarter of 2012.

• Jun 15 Ron Aberdeen posted some details about the project on his site:
My first feature movie goes into production on July 18th in Louisiana.

"The Darkness"

The journey of a father to get to his kids when sunlight & people inexplicably disappear.

Written with the film's director, Simon Foster.
With Christopher Eccleston playing the father, Scout Taylor-Compton his daughter and Michael Biehn, Shawn Roberts and Francis Fisher in supporting roles, I couldn't ask for a better cast.

Cinema and DVD deals were agreed at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and release is scheduled for Spring 2012.

Once the movie has been released I will post the original spec script and the final shooting script so a comparison between the two can be made. Personally I think the changes that have been made to suit budget, location and what came about in development, will be of interest to many.

Tagline: There's Only One Rule: Don't answer the phone

It has been a long journey going from concept to production and there is still another nine months before its release date.

Simon Foster, the director and co-writer approached me after he read my material on InkTip in October 2005. He sent me a two-page outline of his concept and asked if I would be interested in writing the screenplay.

As I had only started writing at the beginning of that year I jumped at the offer, agreed a deal, signed a contract and started work in December. By February 2006 I sent him the first draft. We had a development meeting in March and between us polished the first draft into a screenplay we were both happy with.

Simon, who is also producing the movie, worked out the budget, prepared the business plan and his pitch to financiers and visited Cannes that year with some good results.

Initially, everything seemed to be good for a shoot in 2009, but then suddenly with the collapse in the financial markets we were back to day one, overnight.

Simon went looking again but this time with a lower budget of $1.5mil as opposed to $4.5mil and I worked on editing the script to reflect the changes in budget.

Through contacts and friends Simon had established in the industry as a musician, gradually he raised fresh interest in the premise and at the start of this year things came together again for a rescheduled shoot, initially for March this year, but again delays crept in here we are in June nearly six years since I received the first email from him.

Getting Pamela Wallace, (Oscar winning writer of Witness) on board as an executive producer and Lindsay Chag as the casting director was a big step forward in getting a quality cast together within the budget.

If there are lessons to be gleamed from this, it is don't stop believing in yourself and don't give up.
Stealth Media Group:
Synopsis: When the world is plunged into darkness, Greg Stonehaven has to somehow get to his children 200 miles away. All forms of communication have stopped working -- no cell phones, no Internet, no television. To make matters worse, the electrical grid struggles with unprecedented demand and soon completely fails. The populace become confused and frightened as their sources of artificial light gradually dim and die out. People then begin going missing wherever darkness falls, and survivors realize they must do whatever they can to stay in the light.

Tagline: Theres only one rule: Stay in the light.

Starring: Christopher Eccleston (G.I. Joe, 28 Days Later, The Others), Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween 1, 2 & 3, The Runaways), Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: Afterlife, Edge of Darkness, Jumper), Michael Biehn (Grindhouse, The Rock, The Terminator)
Ron Aberdeen on Scottish Screenwriters site:
'The Darkness' is coming.
A feature movie showing the torment of a father and his kids when they are separated just as sunlight and people disappear for no apparent reason.
Written with the film’s director, Simon Foster.
With Christopher Eccleston playing the father, Scout Taylor-Compton his daughter and Michael Biehn, Shawn Roberts and Francis Fisher in supporting roles.
Filming starts on July 18th in Louisiana.
Also according to Aberdeen's site,
Production of The Darkness begins in 2011 with a production budget of $5mil and already has cinema and DVD distribution contract for the US, Canada and Europe.
Early reports on shocktillyoudrop.com, dreadcentral.com, bloody-disgusting.com.


Notes:
Simon Foster had tweeted on 19th October 2010, "Whacked. It's 2.15am and I've finally finished the full americanisation of my script for The Darkness.", and Ron Aberdeen confirmed that the film started as set in the UK.
Simon Foster is a composer who also writes, produces and directs. Covent Garden Films is a commercially orientated team affair. And Louisiana has a movie incentive programme.




21 comments:

mktackabery said...

Oh dear. Having Michael Biehn in a film gives the project a 50% chance of dying in oblivion or being a piece of major suck. I'll start a novena.

Alex said...

I'm also suspicious, but mainly because of who's directing. Prolly straight to DVD stuff.

Ron Aberdeen said...

I don’t consider “Tombstone”, “The Abyss” or “The Terminator” films that faded away into oblivion or it reasonable to believe because the director is a new director; you can judge the outcome without knowing the quality of their work.

But who am I to comment, I wrote the original spec with the director and was thrilled to hear of the successful presales at the Berlin Film Festival.

Alex said...

Mr. Aberdeen, thanks for dropping by - I hoped you would.

Generally I prefer to have lower expectations - have been burnt before. Love positive surprises though.

Regarding the director: I'm not questioning the story or general validity of the project. It's the technical side I'm concerned about - I watched Mr. Foster's materials that are available online and well, they didn't impress me.
(I do have a film-related education and experience in making short films.)

Would really like to hear more about the project - why do you think it's awesome?

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough Micahel Biehn's star has been rising since the Rodriguez/Tarantino 'Planet Terror' movie. So you never know...

mktackabery said...

@Ron, I consider those the very successful 50% of Mr. Biehn's films., and my all-time favorite role of his was in Aliens. All are GREAT films that continue to raise questions and provide enjoyment. But that doesn't excuse Jade, The Rock, Navy Seals, Omega Code 2, or Streets of Blood.

I suppose it's not an actor's fault, but those films are the ones that make me forget Terminator and Aliens and despair. I'm not being snotty. I truly enjoy a good action movie, thriller and monster movie, and I have no objections to groups of hunks with guns running around and blowing things up. But it is extremely disappointing when talented actors are stuffed into one-size-fits-all Hollywood boxes, which is definitely what has happened to Christopher Eccleston. I expect he gets regular offers to play the next Bond villian. Sigh.

chiclit said...

Well -I am always excited about a new Eccleston movie-and the production and distribution process is interesting in this day and age. I am curious about the successful pre sales at the Berlin festival. Let's start some good internet and Twitter buzz!

Ron Aberdeen said...

Alex,

What I believe makes this story interesting is the dilemma of the characters.

Most successful films make the audience care about the people involved. What we have done is to separate Greg (Christopher’s character) from his daughter and son during an unprecedented crisis.

There is nowhere to hide in the Darkness, even from yourself.

Ron Aberdeen said...

Michelle,

I thought your comment about Michael Biehn was unjustified, particularly when you consider actors sometimes have to take roles to eat. (No pun intended).

My favourite movie with Michael is “The Seventh Sign” and there is no question about his qualities as an actor.

One of the things that I find encouraging about the production of “The Darkness” is the quality of the cast and I am thrilled that Christopher is on board.

Alex said...

Mr. Aberdeen, I completely agree re the strengths of this production and hope they will be an inspiration to everyone involved to deliver and make a great film.

Best of luck, and please keep us updated.

(Btw, was the story really UK set in the beginning?)

Ron Aberdeen said...

Alex

Yes, initially the story was set in the UK.

The director, Simon Foster, contacted after he read a couple of my screenplays on a website called InkTip, and asked if I would be interested in working on a project with him.

He sent me a two-page brief of his story and I liked what I read and within days I was working on the first draft.

That was five years ago.

Alex said...

Mr. Aberdeen, thank you for the info. Yes, I've read on your site it all started in December 2005.
Could've been interesting to see a British version of 'The Road' world, but maybe it would've been drawn into comparisons with '28 Days Later'.

How long is the American shoot expected to be? And are you coming back to the UK for the post-production?

Anonymous said...

The Second Coming, Dr Who, and Heroes (the good series), now The Darkness - I can't wait!

Ron Aberdeen said...

I believe the shoot is about three weeks and most of the post is to be done in London.

Alex said...

Thank you, Mr. Aberdeen. Will be interesting to see how it goes.

Kille said...

Where in Luisiana is the shoot going to be? Does anybody know?

Doctor9fan said...

Great news although I do wonder how the timing will be as I can't envision The Borrowers will have finished filming before this begins; unless they're filming all of Chris' scenes first & will have them completed by the middle of July, it'll be tight though.

Alex said...

>Doctor9fan

'The Borrowers' shoot in SA is five weeks - to the end of July, but Eccleston will be in London already by the 20th (Masterclass). If he's still doing 'The Darkness' (which I struggle to see anything great about), it will be first after that for him.

mktackabery said...

Any update on this? Is CE definitely out?

Alex said...

>mktackabery

Nothing definite. 'The Fuse' shoot apparently is pushed to November, so everything is still open.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the director's short. Really bad.