In 2012, director Josh Trank exploded onto the scene with a wonderfully inventive picture combining two genres many folks thought had no invention left in ’em. Chronicle, a found-footage superhero (or is that supervillain?) film, was a surprise low-budget hit for 20th Century Fox, giving Dane DeHaan and Michael B. Jordan star-making turns, and giving Trank the keys to the kingdom for just about any property he wanted. Trank went with Fantastic Four, and, unfortunately, we all know how that turned out. But will Trank ever return to the Chronicle well and give us a sequel? In a candid new interview with Polygon, Trank reveals not only was a Chronicle 2 script written, but Trank did everything in his power to stop it.
Post-Chronicle success, Trank moved quickly into a bad place. He had meetings with folks like Tom Cruise and got opportunities at films like Venom, but as he phrases it, “All I felt was anger toward things. Anger toward kids that I grew up with. I didn’t feel any happiness from that. I didn’t know how to embrace happiness.” He intensified a nasty cigarette habit and punched a hole through his house.
During all of this inner turmoil, work on Chronicle 2 began. Max Landis, the first film’s writer who’s since been outed as a predator, wrote a script about a young girl who becomes obsessed with the footage of these heroes, and builds her own Iron Man-esque suit to become one herself. For Trank, though, the work was just “fine,” but was “nothing to do with why I wanted to do” Chronicle in the first place. He went on to explain exactly how and why Chronicle 2 would never happen under his watch:
I made it difficult for them to set up meetings. I was dodgy about stuff. I did a lot of shitty things. Because I really didn’t ever want to see Chronicle 2 happen. That was my worst nightmare. First of all, I’m not doing it. Second, if somebody else does it, then you know it’s gonna be a piece of shit.
The entire interview is worth your time, telling a frank story of the gifted young filmmaker who just might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And what might that light be? Capone, his upcoming Tom Hardy-starring film of which you can watch the trailer here.