Paramount Pictures has been doing it with the Paranormal Activity series and most recently with “The Devil Inside.” So why not “Chronicle” too?
The idea is to turn low-budget independent films into box office smashes, a la “Blair Witch Project” or all three Paranormal Activity films. “Chronicle,” from writer Max Landis and director Josh Trank, takes a science-fiction approach. It focuses on “found footage” of three teenagers who suddenly pick up special powers.
It’s not clear how much Trank spent to make the film from the son of famed director John Landis, but it’s said to be in about the “Devil Inside” range of a couple million dollars.
“The plan was to make a film that played like a personal documentary,” Trank said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We’re not saying it’s real. In fact, we’re very up front that it’s fake. But we do think it’s a fresh way to comment on the world.”
The film will come out just before Trank’s 27th birthday. He’s young, but he’s already building his resume. He wrote and directed five episodes of the 2007 television show “The Kill Point” with John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg. He also did some uncredited work in Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity 2.”
Landis is young, too, also 26 years old, but already has a series of shorts to his name as well as his debut writing an episode of “Masters of Horror” in 2005.
There are some huge science-fiction elements in “Chronicle,” but that’s not fully what the story is about. In fact, those elements serve more as tools in telling the overall story.
“I’d like to think that it’s more in the ‘District 9’ world of genre movies, a commercial context for relatable ideas,” Trank said. “Superpowers in our movie are a way to express a teenage drama. It’s a movie about inner conflicts and personal problems, not good vs. evil.”
The film stars Dane DeHaan, who appeared in three episodes of “True Blood” in 2011 as Timbo. The year before he played Jesse in seven episodes of “In Treatment.” He has a busy 2012 already lined up outside of “Chronicle,” including “Jack and Diane” with Kylie Minogue as well as “Wettest County” with Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf, and “The Place Beyond the Pines” with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper.
The film also stars “Friday Night Lights'” Michael B. Jordan as well as Alex Russell.
“Chronicle” will be released Feb. 2. Too see the trailer, click here.