The Day of the Triffids: Where the Earth Orbits Into a Nightmare.”
That classic bit of voiceover on the trailer for the 1962 cult creature feature The Day of the Triffids should serve as the confidence-building rallying cry when the upcoming
re-adaptation of John Wyndham’s 1951 novel goes into production. That’ll be happening sooner rather than later, now that Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures have landed a quality director in director Mike Newell, the helmer of such critically acclaimed flicks as Donnie Brasco, which I love hardcore, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, which I barely remember. I’m pretty baffled that this film is going to such a high-quality director, as the cynic in me was waiting for a first-time director or someone who specialized in schlock horror. Well played, guys.
Newell will be directing from a script written by Neil Cross, best known for creating the stellar British detective drama Luther, starring the apocalypse-cancelling Idris Elba, as well as last year’s sorta-spooky Mama. And while specific producers don’t always need a mention, it’s worth noting we have Transformers franchise producer Don Murphy, who is producing Vampire Academy (bleh) with the 2009 Triffids miniseries producer Michael Preger, and 2012 and Saving Private Ryan producer Mark Gordon, who has been an executive producer on a ton of TV shows as of late. My point is, this looks like it’s going to be a pretty big movie, in scope if nothing else.
I certainly hope they don’t go overboard with it, keeping it closer to something like The Mist rather than World War Z. Though really, as long as there are talented people delivering it, I don’t care how big it gets. Newell’s films, while their quality is scattershot every two or three releases, are generally good with the character work, which is going to be important in making this more than just another CGI fest.
Wyndham’s story follows biologist Bill Masen, who works with the semi-intelligent triffids, a group of douchebag plants who attack people and do dreadful things to them. After a meteor shower leaves the majority of the population blinded, Masen makes his way through a now chaotic society in which the sighted have become a minority, and in which the triffid population is slowly growing. Dum dum dummmm.
There are many ways this material could be delivered, and Newell’s 50-year career has covered a lot of ground, so there’s no telling which director we’ll get. He’s helmed big-budget films like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and more direct dramas like Mona Lisa Smile and Great Expectations. Now I can’t wait to see who they get to play Masen.
This news comes three weeks after the 1963 film’s uncredited line producer (damn you, IMDb) Bernard Glasser passed away. I’m sure he would have liked to see what they came up with. Check out that awesome trailer below, and you can find the entire first film on YouTube.