In a risk-averse business like show business, it’s rare to run across something truly original. We know that the big-money movies in any given year are going to be dominated by superheroes and book adaptations; sequels, prequels, and threequels; reboots and re-imaginings. And honestly, it’s not surprising. These things cost a lot of money to make, with a huge risk if they fail. But still, it’s nice when the rare story crosses my desk that’s just so damn weird that I can’t help but ask, “What the hell?” Take, for instance, Yellowstone Falls: a post-apocalyptic tale that sounds like a cross between a nature documentary and The Walking Dead.
Yellowstone Falls is a spec script written by a dude named Dan Kunka, a hot-shit new screenwriter whose 2013 Black List screenplay about the Bermuda Triangle sold to Warner Bros. a year ago. That sale earned him six figures, and now he’s at it again with Yellowstone Falls. Deadline says that QED grabbed up the script, which meant another six-figure payday for Kunka, which could go to seven if the movie actually gets made. Of course, there are a lot of majorly talented writers whose original spec scripts earn them paydays but then just sit on a shelf. Hopefully if this guy’s stuff is this good, it’ll actually make it to the screen eventually.
As for Yellowstone Falls, the concept at first sounds like it has the makings of a Syfy Original, the sort of thing you’d get double-billed with Sharknado. But for all its fantastic elements, Yellowstone Falls definitely doesn’t sound like just another cookie-cutter sci-fi action flick. The script itself is only 52 pages long, for one thing. Typically a page of script is roughly equivalent to one minute of screen time, and part of that is because a script page has a lot of empty space thanks to lots of dialogue and how the page is formatted. Obviously 52 minutes is quite a bit shy of your typical feature length. Apparently that’s because the script is largely dialogue free.
Yellowstone Falls is set after an apocalypse of some sort has killed off most of mankind, and left the rest as mutated creatures that don’t have much of their humanity left. The story will follow a mother wolf who is separated from her mate and her pack, and is forced to protect her cubs from a pack of slavering ex-humans. It makes sense that mama wolf won’t have a whole lot to say, but it strikes me as a story that will be very much dependent on execution: if done right, it could be something wholly unlike most of what we see in theaters…or it could be a train wreck. I’m already having visions of the studio panicking at the last minute and adding voiceover with Angelina Jolie as the voice of the wolf, or bringing Liam Neeson in as the lead mutant.
Either way, Yellowstone Falls will be one to keep an eye on.