In yet another clandestine movie venture, J.J. Abrams and Paramount are teaming up to turn out a low-budget, as-yet untitled science fiction movie. The studio acquired the spec script from a relatively unknown pair of writers, Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken. Abrams’s Bad Robot will produce the picture from the two “rising scribes.”
Described as “a contained thriller with sci-fi elements,” that’s all anyone really knows about the project. Abrams is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to his movies, so whatever information does come will likely be a trickle rather than a flood, especially at this stage of the game.
Abrams’ involvement will generate some excitement among his fans (though I know there are some of you out there in TV land who aren’t in his camp). The involvement of Stuecken and Campbell doesn’t provide much in the way of answers either. Campbell is currently working on the script for the American remake of John Woo’s 1989 action classic The Killer. Aside from that most of his resume is as an assistant editor. Stuecken’s highest profile jobs have been as an associate producer on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emporer. He does however have one writing credit, a short called The Tower of Babble. Both Campbell and Stuecken did work in various capacities on Van Helsing. Who knows what that means, if anything.
Contained thrillers can be tricky. It’s easy to lean too heavily on a gimmick, and a lot of them run out of steam by the time the end finally rolls around. While it may have a solid initial concept, some have to stretch too far to reach feature length. Still, I like Abrams’ popcorn movie sensibilities (for the most part), and there aren’t many contained thrillers with a sci-fi bent that spring readily to mind.