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EXCL: Eisner on Creature from the Black Lagoon Remake!

Who’s designing the Gill Man and where’s the project at?

Breck Eisner meets ShockTillYouDrop.com in Pasadena to talk NBC’s Fear Itself, and his episode The Sacrifice (more on that later), and the only thing echoing through this writer’s skull is: Creature from the Black Lagoon, Creature from the Black Lagoon… Yes, the long-mooted remake to Universal and Jack Arnold’s 1954 film.

Myriad directors have dipped their toes into the property, but were not committed enough to dive right in. That is, until Eisner had his named attached to an update nearly three years ago, working from a script by Gary Ross. The waters have been seemingly calm on the Creature front since then leading some to suspect Universal’s attempts to float another Gill Man adventure were mere pipedreams. But the truth is, Eisner is reworking Gary Ross’ screenplay right now. In fact, he took time off from that task just to meet us today.

“We scouted the movie last year but got shut down when the writers strike happened,” Eisner explains to us. “We had a crew in the Amazon where we’re going to shoot all of the exteriors. We’re shooting in Manaus, Brazil and on the Amazon in Peru. I want it to be authentic. I’m a big fan of Werner Herzog and Fitzcarraldo. Herzog got that authenticity. He shot in Manaus. So, we scouted for a month. There’s this place called the Forest of Mirrors, because there are so many lagoons on a thousand mile green carpet river, and we found the lagoon we’re going to shoot in.”

Eisner is also currently prepping a remake of George Romero’s The Crazies which he’ll shoot before Creature. “I want to get that film done, get it into post-production then head to the Amazon for ‘Creature.’ Oddly, I’m waiting on the height of the Amazon river before we start shooting – it drops 50-feet in October and November. But we’ve got the boat set and everything ready to go.”

The new Creature will take place in a contemporary setting, and, will feature a mixture of CG and practical FX. “The Creature has been designed, we’ve spent six months designing him.” Eisner says Spectral Motion has built a maquette based on an appearance created by Mark “Crash” McCreery (Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean). “We went top shelf on it. It’s very faithful to the original, but updated.”

Asked if he was turning the Creature into a huge action spectacle like Universal’s Mummy films, Eisner expresses a noted reverence for the studio’s atmosphere-soaked originals like James Whale’s Frankenstein and George Waggner’s The Wolf Man. “We debated tone a thousand times. For me tone is the most interesting thing a filmmaker has and so the Creature is a creature, it’s not a monster. That’s my number one thing about the movie. We’re not going to turn him into a monster. He’s still going to be empathetic, he’s still going to be deadly, he’s still going to have a misguided means of expressing his interests in a woman, but it’s uniquely the Creature. It’s empathy for a deadly creature and tone plays a big part of that.” Still, Eisner knows full well Universal is aiming for summer movie fare so, “it will deliver of action and excitement, but I want it to be scary. The Creature was scary when it first came out in ’54 – it’s not scary today – but that’s what updating means to me, updating the tone of the original.”

Source: Ryan Rotten