Monster Problems

Back in 2012, Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Night at the Museum) was gearing up to direct a film called Monster Problems, a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story based on a script by Brian Duffield (Insurgent, Jane Got a Gun). Time passed, and that version of the movie fell away into the gaping maw of Hollywood’s endless “what if” scenarios.

But Monster Problems is back, crawling out of its early grave. Guardians of the Galaxy actor Michael Rooker has joined the project alongside The Maze Runner star Dylan O’Brien. Levy is still on board all these years later, but he’s shifted into a producer role and found a new director. Learn more about Monster Problems below.

Deadline reports that Michael Matthews will be directing this one for Paramount Players, Paramount’s division that focuses on “contemporary properties.” If his name doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s because he’s only directed one feature thus far: 2017’s Five Fingers for Marseilles, a subversive, triumphant South African western that we enjoyed when we saw it on the film festival circuit last year. Levy will produce with his 21 Laps production company.

Michael Rooker is set to play “Clyde, an expert hunter who teaches Joel Dawson (O’Brien) how to survive the Monster Apocalypse.” Sounds like Zombieland but with monsters swapped for the zombies, and Rooker in the Woody Harrelson-type of role. And in fact, back in 2012 the film was described as “a post-apocalyptic road movie in the vein of Mad Max and Zombieland with a John Hughes-esque love story at its center,” so maybe that comparison isn’t too far off. Either way, Rooker can play a grizzled veteran with the best of ’em as he proved in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies as Yondu, and maybe he’ll be able to bring some levity to this situation. O’Brien is a promising young actor who seems like he may be running the risk of taking himself a little too seriously lately, so maybe this project will provide an opportunity for him to ease back into a more laid-back vibe.

Deadline says the script is by Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson (The Invention of Lying, Monster Trucks), but IMDb credits Duffield with writing an “earlier screenplay” and Robinson with the “screenplay.” You can’t always trust IMDb info, but Duffield seemed slightly out of the loop when this news hit Twitter, so I’m not sure if Robinson did a rewrite that could have changed the tone and made those earlier comparisons moot.

There’s no info yet about when the cameras roll, but we’ll keep you in the loop when we hear more.

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