One of my favorite episodes of the new Twilight Zone was ‘Button, Button,’ based on the Richard Matheson short story of the same name. In it Mare Winningham and her loser husband are offered a box with a button. The stranger bearing the box says that if they press the button, they will receive a large sum of money… but someone they don’t know will die. There is, of course, a twistarooni at the end (different from – and superior to – the one in the story, by the way), and it’s a half hour of good television.
Now Richard Kelly is taking that same story and making a PG-13 horror film out of it called The Box, with Cameron Diaz in the Mare Winningham role. He’s going to have to expand the shit out of the tale to get a feature from it – even at TV length ‘Button, Button’ felt stretched. The Variety article seems to mention a variety of buttons, so maybe there’s maimings, cripplings and bad days in exchange for changing sums of cash.
The film will cost 30 million dollars, all of it supplied by Media Rights Capital, the same dudes who bankrolled Babel and Bruno. They’re obviously a ‘B’ oriented company. The Box starts shooting this fall, which means it could conceivably come out before Kelly’s latest film, Southland Tales, which has been sitting around Sony for some time after Kelly’s latest round of edits to make the film watchable.