Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) has his latest horror movie, Deliver Us from Evil, hitting theaters next week. And while you'd think that may keep him occupied, he's also producing Sinister 2, writing an Outer Limits movie, and directing Doctor Strange for Marvel Studios. But apparently that's still not enough to keep this workaholic satisfied.
A few months ago Derrickson tweeted a picture of the shelf where he keeps all of his completed scripts. So when we spoke with the writer-director earlier this week about Deliver Us from Evil, we couldn't help but ask about status updates on some of the most recent projects revealed in that picture.
We didn't have time to hear about everything in it - like what would have been in his version of Poltergeist or Hyperion - but we did get updates on his remake of the Dutch horror movie Two Eyes Staring and a string of sci-fi projects: When Gravity Fails, Deus Ex, Void Dogs and The Postmortal (a book we can't recommend enough).
Movies.com: What's going on with Two Eyes Staring?
Scott Derrickson: I wrote that script for Charlize Theron, who I adore. She's just an awesome human being and obviously everyone knows she's one of the greatest actresses working. She loved the script and we both wanted to make it, but right after finishing that script she committed to Fury Road, the new Mad Max movie. So that prevented it there, and from then on both of us have just been committing to things and there's never been a window of time where it can happen. It's a script I'm really proud of. It's a good genre script, and it's still there. I'm not sure what's going to happen with it. I won't be surprised if it does one day end up on the screen.
Movies.com: What about When Gravity Fails?
Derrickson: I don't actually know what the status is of that. That was a hard script to get right, and I felt like [C. Robert] Cargill and I got it right. It's an incredible book that we were adapting there, and it's a script I'm really proud of as well. But it's something that's expensive, it's a big movie, and those don't come together too easily. I think everyone was happy with it, but again, it's one of those scripts where before financing could come together, I had moved on to other things. It's definitely not dead. I think it'll be one of those scripts that'll be revisited as time goes on. As of right now, there are no plans on that one that I'm aware of.
Movies.com: Deus Ex?
Derrickson: I don't want to speak about the status of that because I don't know what I should or shouldn't say about it, but I will say it is definitely, definitely not a dead movie.
Movies.com: Void Dogs?
Derrickson: I am going to say, just... stay tuned.
Movies.com: It looks like you're entering the phase of your career where you're going to start producing movies for other people. Is enabling other people's visions something that really interests you?
Derrickson: Very much so, but I'm not trying to branch out and produce a bunch of different things for money. I think that can turn into a distraction for a filmmaker. But what I am interested in is targeting very specific projects with specific filmmakers to produce because I believe in those filmmakers and those projects, especially if my involvement can facilitate the making of a movie that wouldn't get made otherwise. That's very rewarding for me.
Movies.com: You seem to be finding great material that Hollywood isn't paying attention to, but should be. Do you have to talk with your management about what material you should be doing, or do you just read a book, say you like it and buy the option on your own?
Derrickson: It's more the latter. It's the way I've always operated. It's why I read that nonfiction book by an anthropologist that had been out of print since '78 called The Exorcism of Annelise Michel, I optioned it for $100 and knew I was going to turn it into a movie. At that point, no one had made a successful exorcism movie since The Exorcist.
What I try to do is exactly what you described: bring to the table movies that Hollywood is not currently making but should be, and movies I think audiences would be excited to see. Like The Postmortal. It's not a super-popular book, but I read it and just thought it had to be turned into something, whether it's a movie or a TV miniseries. I read it and it was so right for a great adaptation, and yet it's not like anything I've read, and it's not like anything Hollywood is making.
Movies.com: And what's the status of The Postmortal?
Derrickson: I'm still looking for what to do with it. The more I've worked with it, and the more I've talked with other writers - one writer friend in particular who I hope will commit to because I know he's interested - I think it's perfect for a limited series. Hopefully I'll be able to get that done.
Deliver Us from Evil hits theaters on July 2, 2014. Look for the rest of our interview with Scott Derrickson next week.
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