Of all the heartthrobs who come and go in teen movies, Josh Hutcherson stands out. That sounds like a weird thing for a grown man to say about someone tween girls hang on their walls, but you've got to tip your hat to Hutcherson for taking on a mixture of projects that keep him safely ensconced with his younger fanbase (The Hunger Games, Journey to the Center of the Earth) while also branching out to more challenging material (The Kids Are All Right, Paradise Lost). And now it looks like he's taking on another unique project that's not quite aimed at his core fanbase: Ape.
The Wrap broke the news, referring to the project as a "dark psychological thriller" directed by Miguel Sapochnick (Repo Men) and written by Jon Johnstone. The plot details are vague, but intriguing. As the Wrap's Jeff Sneider puts it, "Ape is a dramatic tale of a young man’s struggle with mental illness, love and a deep-rooted family secret." That's not a whole lot to go off of, but combine that description, the psychological thriller genre, and the title Ape and we can't help but think of horror legend H.P. Lovecraft's short story Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family.
Written in 1921, Facts Concerning is about a short young man with a squat face and long arms who is the descendant of an 18th century British nobleman who was also an African explorer. Short story even shorter: after a trip to the fabled region of the Congo his great-grandfather once visited, Arthur winds up learning that the explanation for his strange looks and his family's strange behavior is that they're actually the descendants of a love affair between this British nobleman and a white ape goddess who ruled a hidden stone city deep in the jungle. Upon learning this, Arthur pours lamp oil on his head, sets himself on fire, and burns down his family estate.
Kind of a weird, intense story, right? We obviously don't know if Ape officially has anything to do with it, and we'd be stunned if it were a literal adaptation, but we wouldn't be surprised to learn Johnstone's script is some kind of variation on the same theme of a man who has been secretly living in the aftermath of a terrible, experimental shame of a distant relative. Plus, it'd just be nice to see one of Lovecraft's stories have some kind of influence on a movie outside of ancient gods and tentacled monsters.