Interview: Producer Frank Marshall on What's Stopping Amblin Reboots, Making Michael Crichton's 'Micro' and More

Interview: Producer Frank Marshall on What's Stopping Amblin Reboots, Making Michael Crichton's 'Micro' and More

Nov 29, 2016

Frank Marshall Movies

Even if you don't happen to know the name Frank Marshall, there's a very good chance his fingerprints are on some of your favorite movies of all time. As a co-founder of Amblin Entertainment he produced Back to the Future, The Goonies, Poltergeist, Gremlins and many more '80s and '90s classics. He's been producing Indiana Jones since the beginning. He brought the Bourne franchise to the big screen and turned Jurassic World into a box office titan.

Marshall is also a director in his own right, having called the shots on classics like Arachnophobia, Alive and Congo. Oh, and he also happens to be married to Kathleen Kennedy, the woman who holds the future of Star Wars in her hands. 

We recently spoke to Marshall about all of this thanks to the home video release of Jason Bourne (out now on FandangoNOW). We'll have a separate, Bourne-specific post as well, but we wanted to shine a spotlight on Marshall's old Amblin days, his love for Michael Crichton stories, the fact that he and his wife rule the world, and what it's going to take to get him to direct again. Check it out. How do you view your Amblin days compared to now? Will we see the comeback of those types of films?

Marshall: It's hard to say. It was so different back then. The studios were all separate and they weren't corporations. We at Amblin, Steven, Kathy and I, just made movies we liked and made stories we wanted to see. Most of them fell in that middle category. They weren't big blockbuster movies, they weren't franchise movies. We just kept finding stories that we wanted to tell and they turned out to be stories a lot of people wanted to see. I think there's still a possibility that we'll do that. Michael Wright, who runs DreamWorks, and I talk about it all the time. He's definitely keen on finding more Amblin-esque projects for them to do. One of the things that's unique about the Amblin legacy is that, aside from a few reboots, it's largely stood on its own. Is there something actively stopping reboots?

Marshall: Yeah, I'm much more interested in making new movies than rehashing movies that have already been made. I look for new stories. When we did Indy, we knew we were going to make three movies. The same with Bourne, but I do like to look for new ideas. I have very eclectic taste. Both Kathy and I do. That's why the movies we've made are so different. It's amazing how much of an influence you two have on the entire universe of pop culture. What are your dinner conversations like?

Marshall: [Laughs] We basically talk about current events or whatever we did that day. We've got two daughters, we talk about that. We're pretty mundane. But we are always looking for stories, we're always saying 'That could be a movie, this could be a movie.' We're not trying to change the world. When are you going to direct again?

Marshall: It just so happened this year that all these different projects I'd been developing came together all at once, so it was a busy year as a producer. Next year is not so busy as a producer, so I do have this project called The Longest Night that I've set up over at Paramount. I hope to, maybe end of summer next year, do that in the director's chair. We have to see. I've got Jurassic World 2 to make, and possibly a couple others, so we'll see. But I have not hung up my director's hat yet.

It's a true story of the largest Coast Guard rescue in history. It happened in the Bering Sea. What's exciting you about this stage of prep on Jurassic World 2?

Marshall: It's finding the next phase of Jurassic World and where we're going to go and what we're going to do. It's filming in London and Hawaii. Right now I'm just excited to work with Juan Antonio Bayona, who I think is just a really, really, really exciting filmmaker. I'm anxious to get started on that, which will be in February. Do you think you'll ever adapt another Michael Crichton novel?

Marshall: Absolutely. Absolutely. We're making Micro. DreamWorks optioned the book and we're in active development on that at DreamWorks. The world can always use more movies about people shrinking down.

Marshall: Don't you think? I can always watch people running around between blades of grass. Especially filmed in Hawaii. I love to be in Hawaii. I always want to be in Hawaii.


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