Chronicle was my sleeper hit of 2012. After enjoying it in the theater, the film kept finding ways to wriggle back into my thoughts. It has so many great little moments, like Andrew (Dane DeHaan) dismembering the spider, or Steve (Michael B. Jordan) scaring little kids in the store. By the time award season came ’round, Chronicle had found a cozy spot amongst my favorite films of the year. It’s a film that is almost overstuffed with youthful exuberance, thanks to the talents of writer Max Landis, a man whose enthusiasm for cinema borders on frightening. Though the film is dark, it never gets pulled down by Andrew’s angst and growing mental instability. Instead, it becomes a smart, streamlined, more accessible riff on the Akira story.
On a (relatively) meager budget of 12 million dollars, Chronicle looked and felt a great deal more expensive, and served as a testament to the ingenuity of young filmmakers like Trank and Landis. It performed admirably at the box office, so of course, Fox wants a sequel.
We’ve known that Josh Trank wasn’t going to be able to return, since he’s got his flamin’ hands full with the new Fantastic Four. We had also heard last year that Fox didn’t like Max Landis’s approach to the sequel, and that he was no longer working on the Chronicle sequel either. Earlier today, Deadline revealed that Fox has hired a new writer, Jack Stanley, to put together a screenplay. My knee-jerk reaction is disappointment. Like getting dumped, I now have to accept the fact that this project may be crudely manhandled by some other guy. I want to trust that Fox won’t screw the pooch here. Perhaps there’s some fact I can take comfort in.
Jack Stanley is a newcomer, with no features to his name. A few of his scripts are in various stages of development, though. He’s also a mere twenty-five years old. This may raise a red flag for some of you, but I think it’s a good move. One of the things that worked so well about Chronicle was its grasp of youth, an apparent understanding of how young people act, feel, and emote. Going with a young newcomer may be exactly what this movie needs. I’ll still be sad about the lack of Landis’ or Trank’s involvement, at least until a director is announced. Maybe I’ll still be a bit sore then, but I hope not.