Author Joe Hill Gives Update on the LOCKE & KEY Movie; Says Fox Passed on the TV Pilot Because It Was “Too Scary”

     October 31, 2014

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It’s no secret that I love the Locke & Key graphic novels that are written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez.  It is a story of dark fantasy and wonder about Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and that only scratches the surface.  When I saw the pilot that was made for the 2011 TV season (starring Miranda Otto, Mark Pellegrino, Jesse McCartney and Sarah Bolger), I loved it so much that I was both shocked and greatly disappointed to learn that it wasn’t picked up and I would never get to see how it would continue.

Then came word that Alex Kurtzman, who was an executive producer on pilot, was now looking to make a trilogy of films to tell the Locke & Key story.  So, when I got on the phone with author Joe Hill to talk about the big screen adaptation of Horns, hitting theaters on Halloween, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to get an update on the possibility of seeing Locke & Key on the big screen.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and stay tuned for what he had to say about Horns.

locke-and-key-movieCollider:  I saw the TV pilot that was done for Locke & Key and absolutely loved it. 

JOE HILL:  Yeah, the pilot came out great!

It’s such a great pilot and the material was handled so beautifully.  How involved were you with that?

HILL:  The showrunner and lead writer on that was Josh Friedman.  He’s gone on to script Avatar 2 and 3, and he handled The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  I love Josh.  Josh is just great.  He’s a great storyteller.  And Mark Romanek directed the hell out of it.  It had a $10 million budget.  The main thing that came out of the experience of the Locke & Key TV show was that I was there for a week while they filmed, and I was there with Gabriel Rodriguez, my collaborator on the comic.  He’s the artist and one of my best friends in the world, and we don’t get to hang out that much because he lives in Chile.  So, we were together for a week, and the best part of the filming of Locke & Key was that, every night, Gabe and I would go back to the bar, and we’d sit around and eat peanuts and talk about Locke & Key.  We figured out the last two books together, Clockworks and Alpha & Omega, while we were filming the Locke & Key pilot, just hanging out in the hotel bar after a day of shooting.  It was a great experience.

Originally, it was going to be a film, and then there was the TV pilot, and now there’s talk of a film trilogy.  Every time I talk to Alex Kurtzman, I keep asking about the status of bringing Locke & Key to the screen, and it seems like there’s some progress being made, but what have you heard?

HILL:  I think that Alex really wants to do it.  I would never bet against Alex Kurtzman’s tenacity.  The last time I talked to Alex, they had a massive chunk of screenplay that they really liked, for the first movie.  That doesn’t mean there’s ever going to be a movie.  I don’t believe in anything, until they’re actually rolling the cameras.  But, I think it would be a mistake to bet against it.

Do you think the successful adaptation of Horns might help move Locke & Key along?

locke-and-key-imageHILL:  No, not really.  I think it’s a common perception that a successful film will make other films happen, or a failed film will mean that opportunities die off, but I don’t really think that that’s all that true.  So many people contribute creatively to a project that each one develops its own DNA and becomes its own creature.  Horns could be a massive smash, and Alex would still be wrestling with the creative problems of Locke & Key.  And if Horns is a huge turkey, Alex will still be wrestling with the particular problems of Locke & Key.  The problems of adapting that story don’t get any easier or any harder, depending on what happens with Horns. 

Well, I hope that I’ll get to talk to you again, once a Locke & Key movie has actually happened.

HILL:  I hope so, too!  To get the rights over to Universal, Universal had to cut a deal with Fox because of the pilot.  I think it would be cool, if they made the Locke & Key film and it was a big hit, and then when it came out on Blu-ray, they had the unaired pilot as part of it.  That would be awesome!  I sometimes feel like that TV show is in its third hit season, in my imagination.  In some ways, the really frustrating part is the sense that Fox passed on it because it was too scary, and yet meanwhile, at the exact same time, their sister channel FX was preparing to release American Horror Story, which is now a huge thing for them.  It’s nothing against American Horror Story, but I do wish ours had been on.  We came close.  We had a pilot that people liked, and the success of American Horror Story suggests that maybe Locke & Key also could have been successful.  But, it’s very tough to get a TV show on.

Look for our full interview with Joe Hill soon.

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