Posted on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 by Angie Han
Warner Bros. really, really wanted to make a franchise out of the Will Smith-starrer I Am Legend. And they tried really, really hard to make a sequel or prequel, to no avail. Smith just didn’t seem interested.
But now they’ve found another way to revive the property without involving Smith. I Am Legend will come back as a reboot, based on a script that originally had nothing to do with I Am Legend. Hit the jump for more on the I Am Legend reboot.
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Will Smith could re-team with his I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence, but not for the film you’re probably expecting to hear about. Lawrence is developing a script called The City That Sailed as a vehicle for Smith. Originally written by Andrew Niccol, the script has kind of a neat, Miyazaki-ish logline: “a father and daughter living on opposite sides of the ocean whose love is so strong that it causes Manhattan to split off and float across the Atlantic.” According to Variety, Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Rounders, Oceans Thirteen) will rewrite as the project goes forward. Read More »
At Comic Con, filmmaker Francis Lawrence revealed that he was working to develop an I Am Legend prequel. Then came rumors that the prequel was actually a sequel, and somehow Will Smith would still be involved. It really didn’t make much sense. Thankfully our friends at Collider got the chance to clear up the rumors while talking to Will Smith at the Seven Pounds junket — It’s a PREQUEL.
“We’re still trying to work through a couple of bumps in the story,” said Smith. “It’s essentially the fall of the last city – the last stand of Manhattan. The movie would be… within the body of the movie D.C. and then Manhattan would fall as the last city. It’s a really cool idea trying to figure it out… there’s a reason why we have to take a small band and we have to get into D.C. So we have to make our way from New York to D.C. and then back to New York.”
A couple days ago we were talking about how World War Z might be the first large scale zombie film, but it now looks like Smith and Lawrence are planning the same type of thing. It spans two cities! How cool is that?! Sure, we know where Smith’s character is likely to end by the time the credits roll, but it might be a fun roller coaster ride. And for those wondering, Smith also confirmed that the dog would return, but as a puppy.
According to a scooper at AICN, the I Am Legend prequel might no longer be a prequel. The original idea was for the film to take place “several years before the original film” and follow Will Smith’s character Robert Neville as he fails to save a small pocket of survivors. I’ll admit, I was never a huge fan of the prequel idea, because we know where it will eventually end up. But Warner Bros was insistent in making the movie with Will Smith, and that was the idea he developed. But now rumor has it that the film will be a direct follow-up to the original film. Problem is, [possible spoiler alert] Smith’s character is killed at the end of the first film. So how would this be possible?
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It is official, Warner Bros has greenlit a prequel to I Am Legend. Will Smith has signed on to reprise his role as Robert Neville, and Francis Lawrence has returned as director. Looks like Lawrence won’t be finding time to work on Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor anytime soon. According to Variety, D.B. Weiss (The Game) is writing the script based on a detailed plot outline that was developed over the past few months by Smith, Lawrence, Akiva Goldsman (producer and screenwriter of the original).
The prequel will follow Neville in the last days before and after the man-made virus kills/mutates New York City. A sequel was considered, but obviously wouldn’t have been possible without starting over with a completely new lead character/actor. No word on if author Richard Matheson was consulted about the film. Apocalyptic stories usually sit in one of two categories, pre-Apocalyptic (ie Armageddon, Independence Day) or post-Apocalyptic (I Am Legend, Children of Men), so it will be an interesting change to see a film which might straddle both.
Discuss: Do you want to see a prequel to I Am Legend? I’d rather see Lawrence tackle Palahniuk’s Survivor.