J.J. Abrams explains his vision for a ‘Cloverfield’ movie universe


Back in January, J.J. Abrams dropped a surprise mystery box onto the lap of an unsuspecting public. The markedly private Bad Robot production company was making another “Cloverfield” movie. And, surprise twist, the new feature titled “10 Cloverfield Lane” would be released in theaters in a mere two months.

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Little is known about “10 Cloverfield Lane” besides the themes alluded to in a cryptic trailer. The three-person cast (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr.) appears to be trapped in a doomsday bunker. Why and how they got there are up for grabs. But the movie doesn’t appear to be set in Manhattan and so far no “Cloverfield” monsters have been revealed. So what does “10 Cloverfield Lane” have to do with the 2008 found-footage monster movie? According to gatekeeper Abrams, everything and nothing.

The secretive drama isn’t a sequel to the “Cloverfield” movie but rather an extension of a fictional universe. “We do have a big, fun idea that hopefully will get a shot to realize,” Abrams said over the phone. “But in the meantime, I think the easiest way to consider this is that it is something of an anthology. But it’s also something else that we’re playing with. Fingers crossed that we get to execute.”


When asked if what Abrams was trying to create was something in the vein of “Twilight Zone” or the “Amazing Stories” series but for film, Abrams confirmed, “It’s an easy way to understand it at the moment, that it’s just a cool anthology. And I think that this movie stands alone. I think [the director] Dan Trachtenberg did a terrific job on its own. But it does have a connection to something that we’d love to see through. But certainly the ‘Twilight Zone’ is one of my favorite shows and if this can be seen in that light, it would be a wonderful comparison…

Again, it’s sort of an easy way to say it’s an anthology of cool genre films could all fall under the ‘Cloverfield’ banner. But seeing that this is just the second movie, I don’t want to be presumptuous. There is a larger idea that we’re working on that would be really fun if we could see through. Hopefully that can happen, but in the meantime, the ‘Twilight Zone’ comparison is flattering and hopefully appropriate one.”

The idea is to take on different genres and frame them through a “Cloverfield” lens. The 2008 flick spun the found-footage genre to new heights while littering their different world with soon-to-loved Bad Robot-isms such as the the famous drink, Slusho. Eight years later, Abrams wants to give the “Cloverfield” touch to new kinds of films, like the bottle drama.

When pressed to see what type of movie Abrams would like to see under the “Cloverfield” banner, he revealed that he has a vision but wasn’t willing to dive into details just yet, “We do have this larger idea and it is pretty cool. There’s a fun experience, I think, for moviegoers up ahead. If we’re allowed to continue with our bizarre scheme.

But as ‘Cloverfield’ was just one point on a board and this is sort of another point to kind of begin the trajectory, I think the fun of what could come next is this sort of unexpected but still connected narrative. The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is a little bit more weird than we probably could talk about.”



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