Director Tim Burton looks to be returning to his comedic roots with his upcoming film Dark Shadows. The first trailer premiered the other day, and the main comparison that came to mind tone-wise when watching the trailer was Burton’s masterwork Beetlejuice. The ghoulishly funny 1988 film is a classic, and rumors of a sequel have lingered for quite a few years now. We got a brief update from Burton back in January, when he confirmed that his Dark Shadows screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith was working on a screenplay.
Steve got to speak with Grahame-Smith earlier today at WonderCon where the screenwriter was promoting Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and he gave an update on the Beetlejuice sequel confirming that Michael Keaton would return to star and Burton would produce. He also revealed that the film will take place 26 or 27 years after the original, and teased what the premise might involve. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
Grahame-Smith admitted he hasn’t had the chance to sit down and write the Beetlejuice follow-up just yet (he’s got a lot on his plate at the moment), but he did confirm that he’s met not only with Burton, but also with Keaton:
“Beetlejuice is hopefully the third thing I’m gonna write this year. I’ve met with Tim about it, I’ve met with Michael Keaton about it. There’s a lot of goodwill to want to do it from both of those guys; Tim from a producing aspect and Michael from returning to the character. Again, it’s on me. It’s whether or not I can come up with a script that’s worthy of them jumping back in.”
It’s interesting that Burton only plans on taking a producer role on the film, but since the project is still in the nascent stages it’s very possible that he could change his mind once Grahame-Smith turns in the script. The scribe said that he has an idea in place for what the film might entail, and revealed that it will be a true sequel and not a reboot:
“I have a rough idea of what it’s gonna be. However—I should stress this—it’s not a remake, it’s not a reboot, it is a true sequel with Michael Keaton as the title character Beetlejuice. The thing that Tim and Michael and I all agree on, and is most important for me is, I don’t wanna be the guy that destroys the legacy and the memory of the first film; I would rather die. I would rather just not make it, I’d rather just throw the whole thing away than make something that pays no respect and doesn’t live up even close to the legacy of the first film.”
Since reboots seem to be all the rage, it’s quite refreshing to hear that they’re not simply making Beetlejuice 2.0 in which Keaton would pass the torch off to a younger, hipper ghoul. Grahame-Smith said that the film will account for the time-lapse from the original movie (much like Tron: Legacy), and teased what the premise might entail:
“This will be a true 26 or 27 years later sequel. What’s great is that for Beetlejuice, time means nothing in the afterlife, but the world outside is a different story.”
I’m all for a Beetlejuice sequel if it’s worthy of the original, and it sounds like all involved have set high standards for themselves. If Beetlejuice 2 does indeed come to fruition, I’m hoping it’ll be because Grahame-Smith turned in a killer script that Burton and Keaton think is worth making. Though he’s set to write a multitude of projects this year, I would think Beetlejuice is fairly high on Grahame-Smith’s list so hopefully we’ll hear word on whether or not it’s going forward sometime later this year. You can watch the portion of Steve’s interview with Grahame-Smith concerning Beetlejuice 2 below, and look for the full interview soon.