Universal has announced that JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) is developing an Earthquake disaster film with Omen screenwriter David Seltzer. As with any project Abrams is involved with, details are being kept under wraps. What we do know is that it isn’t a remake of Universal’s 1974 film Earthquake, and that it will focus more on the relationships between people caught in the disaster. We’re not even clear if this is a potential directing vehicle for Abrams, as the trades only mention that he is collaborating with Seltzer and producing the project.
I’ve always loved disaster movies, but the contemporary attempts have done a very poor job of making you care about the characters. Instead it’s all about the big budget special effects. Imagine how much better a film like The Day After Tomorrow would be if you actually cared if Dennis Quaid’s character would reach his son (Jake Gyllenhaal). Relationships, and character are something JJ Abrams brings to the table. It’s also worth nothing that this is the second film (that I know of) that is now in production with a backdrop of an Earthquake. The other film is Brad Bird’s live action adaptation of 1906. But I’m pretty sure that both will be very different films, and we won’t suffer a repeat of dueling films like Deep Impact / Armageddon.