'Chronicle' Director Josh Trank on His Surprising Success, Possible Sequel
As the Fox movie comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, Heat Vision talks to the director about found footage and gray characters.
Fox’s Chronicle proved to be a surprise hit, both financially and critically, when it was released in February.
The movie about three teens who come across super powers was made for about $12 to $15 million, grossed $124 million worldwide and sits at an 85 percent score on movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
The creative team behind the movie got a big boost, too. Director Josh Trank, who shares story credit with Max Landis, has since been linked to several projects, including a Spider-Man spin-off and a Fantastic Four reboot, although he has yet to commit to anything.
The movie hits stores today on DVD and Blu-ray, featuring extras such as the camera test that got the studio to greenlight the movie (kinda cool to see how some of those scenes were translated into the movie with different actors and a different budget) and a director’s cut.
Heat Vision grabbed Trank to quickly chat about the movie that some have described as being what Stan Lee would have created if he was writing in the 21st century instead of the 1960s
Heat Vision: How has life changed for you since the movie came out?
Josh Trank: There’s a lot more opportunities in front of me than I’ve ever had before. In that sense, things are incredibly different. But it’s still the same old me.
Heat Vision: Shooting this kind of movie in the found footage format was unconventional. But obviously it paid off.
Trank: Using what has been perceived as an oversused narrative device was somewhat controversial because there’s a lot stigmas attaches to that kind of a movie. You’re visually all over the place. There was a really tight balance between designed amateurism and the design of cinema approach. It took a lot of trial and error. And it was hard to tell until the last minute how everyobody in the world was going receive this.
Heat Vision: The other interesting thing were the characters. They were very gray. Was that a tough sell?
Trank: When a movie has a more conventional approach, you can get away with having one-dimensional characters because your storytelling is being serviced by soundtrack and score and very manipulative elements. And a movie like this needed to feel as raw and untampered as somebody’s footage on somebody’s camcorder. No artificial soundtrack, no stylized cuts. Just raw.
So characters in that context, behaving in a one-dimensional way, it would be much more see-through. The characters have to be more relatable and normal people have a million thoughts a day and they don’t operate in one clear objective in everything they do. There’s more of an aimlessness, especially with teenage characters.
Having gray characters is something you don’t see in too many studio movies because it’s more risky to not zero in from the beginning of the movie on exactly what this character is going to be about the for the rest of the movie.
Heat Vision: What can you say about Chronicle 2?
Trank: Ha! No comment. No comment.
Ha, yourself Trank. If that’s not an invitation for me to find out more about the plot, I don’t know what is.