Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
No, the guy who co-created Facebook does not have anything to do with The Blair Witch Project. That’s Eduardo Saverin. Eduardo Sanchez is the guy who co-created the horror genre as we know it and the fact that more people today probably know Saverin than Sanchez is kind of insane.
Sanchez, along with Daniel Myrick, co-wrote and directed The Blair Witch Project, the 1999 blockbuster that changed the face of movies forever. It not only ushered in a mega-low-budget model of filmmaking, it was one of the earliest examples of online viral marketing and, of course, begin a trend of found footage films that’s still going strong twelve years later.
Unfortunately, after the $250 million smash hit, Artisan bastardized the property with Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which had very little to do with the original and was only a moderate success. Sanchez and Myrick have been sitting on their own Blair Witch sequel idea ever since and, in a new interview, Sanchez says “We’re as close as we’ve ever been to making it happen” but that it’s all up to Lionsgate, who now owns the rights.
After the jump, read more of Sanchez’s quotes and reminisce about the legacy of The Blair Witch Project.
In an interview with Bloody Disgusting at the premiere of Lovely Molly, which Sanchez wrote and directed, he said the following about the status of The Blair Witch Project 3:
It’s completely up to Lionsgate. Dan and I are ready to do it. We’ve been toying around with a sequel idea that we really like. It’s just a matter of getting our schedules in line and having Lionsgate sign off on the idea. We’ve been ready to do a ‘Blair Witch’ movie for a long time. We’re as close as we’ve ever been to making it happen but it’s still not a guaranteed thing.
One thing that is guaranteed is that Book of Shadows won’t play into it:
I actually liked the sequel but at the same time it exists in a world outside of the movie. So if we want to do a sequel to ‘Blair Witch Project,’ we have to stay in that world, which ‘Book of Shadows’ didn’t stay in that world. ‘Book of Shadows’ created a different world. It’s like if the sequel to ‘Jaws’ started with shots of people lined up to see ‘Jaws’ in the movie theater. For ‘Book of Shadows’ it worked in a certain way but to me my biggest gripe with Artisan was you shouldn’t have called it ‘Blair Witch 2.’ It would’ve been fine to call it Blair Witch Chronicles. It wasn’t really a sequel to our movie. so it would be a direct sequel to our film living in that mythology of Burkittsville, being possessed, haunted by something.
So would the film been a found footage movie again and would the original actors all come back?
Right now, the idea has no first person in it at all, but we’ll see. There’s always room for new ideas to come in….[and] The plan is to have them [back]. They’re probably not going to be the main characters but they’re definitely characters in the sequel.
The Bloody Disgusting article ends by hinting the film would not be a flashback, but more of a sequel helping to explain what the haunting final shot really meant.
That’s exactly where Sanchez stood two years ago when he discussed the film on its 10 year anniversary. It’s pretty insane that Lionsgate hasn’t moved ahead with this project considering it feels like a guaranteed hit. The budget would certainly be small and the name recognition alone is a marketing dream. There was even talk of a Blair Witch remake at one point. One has to wonder what the hold up is.
Could it be that, even twelve-years later, the negative stigma of the Blair Witch hype still exists? Or is it possible that the idea Sanchez and Myrick have just isn’t good enough?
For me, The Blair Witch Project will always have a place in my heart. I saw it months before its release and was legitimately terrified. That was right in the middle of the “Is this real or not?” controversy its online campaign helped create and it wasn’t until the stars started showing up on talk shows months later that everyone wised up. You may find it hard to believe but, in 1999, we were still pretty ignorant to the power of the Internet.
Plus I’ll never forget the sold out screens on opening night at the Angelika Film Center in Manhattan. Lines around the block. Or the time weeks later when it finally opened upstate and I took my friends to see it. The demand was so high the theater literally stopped showing other movies to screen Blair Witch on multiple screens.
That was also the night I knew it couldn’t last. The film was so hyped up that none of those friends found it scary. They knew it was fake, they got sick from the camera movements and subsequently hated it. It was too late. The hype had taken over.
What are your memories of The Blair Witch Project and would you turn out for another sequel? Why do you think the third one has yet to be made? Will it be made?