Max Landis Updates ‘Chronicle 2′, Says His Script is ‘Really Dark’

Published 2 years ago by

chronicle 2 max landis.jgp  Max Landis Updates Chronicle 2, Says His Script is Really Dark

Chronicle was one of last year’s pleasant surprises, and there were reports about Fox wanting to make a followup, which began circulating shortly after the found-footage/super-powered teen drama opened to critical applause (read our review) and box office returns that allowed the film to eclipse its $12 million budget within two days of release. However, things have been quiet on the sequel news front ever since the story about how Fox doesn’t like the Chronicle 2 script got out (around six months ago now).

Screenwriter Max Landis – whose father Jon Landis (director of movies like Animal House and The Blues Brothers) made the claim about Chronicle 2 being held up by creative differences – has spoken out about the project’s development, with the intent of putting a more positive spin on the situation for the public’s consideration.

Landis is currently associated with a handful of projects, including a new version of Frankenstein (which he is writing) and the television show Vigilant that he had started co-developing with Howard Gordon (Homeland) last year. He spoke to IGN at the Middle East Comic Con, providing some insight about how him being high in demand has affected development on Chronicle 2 (and what its current status is).

As far as what’s going on with the sequel, Landis said:

“Chronicle 2 is in an interesting place right now. It’s moving along. There was this whole announcement that they wanted to just do the same thing again because my father said that. My father is not involved in Chronicle 2. He doesn’t know the process. It was not his place to say that.”

Is Landis just doing the standard damage control act here? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right about Chronicle 2 being in better shape than those previous reports suggested. Heck, even the Screen Rant Underground podcast staff was divided about the best approach to a second installment, so it doesn’t require a big leap of the imagination to believe that studio officials have strong opinions about how best to shape their new “investment.”

Michael B Jordan Dane DeHaan Alex Russell Chronicle Max Landis Updates Chronicle 2, Says His Script is Really Dark

Dane DeHaan, Michael B Jordan, and Alex Russell in ‘Chronicle’

Landis went on to explain:

“The truth is when you have a movie that was as successful as Chronicle was, it’s not as quick of a process. There are a lot more voices coming in and saying ‘This is what the sequel should be’ because there’s a bigger expectation and a bigger fear of failure. And that’s really what’s going on with Chronicle 2.”

The other contributing factor is that both Landis and director Josh Trank have other projects competing for their attention, given the aforementioned ventures that the former is currently working on; not to mention, the latter is busy putting together a Fantastic Four reboot for Fox right now.

Nevertheless, Landis insists that his Chronicle 2 script went over pretty well with studio executives (all things considered):

“The report came out that they didn’t like my script. They liked my script. It’s just a really dark script. The question is more of ‘How do we all compromise to get something we want?’ And that’s an incredibly slow process.”

Should this be taken as encouraging news for those hoping to see a Chronicle sequel that features an “evolved” (re: not rehashed) story? Or merely proof that Landis knows better than to bite the hand that feeds him? I hope it’s the first of the two options, but leave it to you to decide.


Screen Rant will keep you posted on Chronicle 2 as more information becomes available.

Source: IGN

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  1. So dark, you cant read anything.

  2. I hope they don’t go too dark. The first got a little too dark for my tastes at the end so I hope the sequel doesn’t follow along that route too much.

    • Too dark? In what way?

      • If I remember correctly, the whole thing with (spoiler alert) the one guy going a bit mental from all the abuse he was going through and burning his step father after his mother died, and fighting against his friends and killing one of them. That kind of stuff. I can understand someone getting turned bad by his experiences, but I wish they would have done it in another way that wasn’t as dark.

        • no way… that was how it shold have went down. i loved chronicle for it. you wont see this type of thig for a LONG time.

        • Wasn’t his step-father, was his actual father.

    • I agree with you that the ending was dark. I actually loved that direction tho. That is totally what would happen if a depressed kid with an abusive dad got superpowers. It would get ugly!

      • Yeah I can see that. I guess I just thought it wouldn’t be as dark from the trailer (there was a hint of it, but not enough to show how far it would go). Some people like that gritty reality of it. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

        • I can totally see where you’re coming from. I watched it for the first time on dvd with some friends a few months ago. My besties girlfriend was disgusted with the ending haha all the females and some of the guys didn’t like it either, “that was weird!!” they kept saying. The darker material just kinda gives you that feeling. I thought it was really interesting and though-provoking but I can definitely see where you’re coming from.

          And yeah the trailer was a bit of a misnomer ;)

          • Thing is, I only saw the trailer for the first time the day before I actually went to see it (my brother showed it to me, I’d never heard of it).

            As I watched the movie, I felt more attached to Dane DeHaan’s character, even when he turned evil. I’ve never had an abusive father or dying mother but I have experienced the other kinds of cruelty he suffered throughout the movie and that’s why he felt more like a real person than the 1 dimensional characters around him.

            I also felt bad that he died because here was this guy being wronged and mistreated his whole life for no reason at all and lashing out like those of us who’ve been through that have wanted to for years.

            All he wanted was revenge for what he had to put up with for years, it’s just that he ended up going down the more destructive path.

            I honestly looked at your “it was too dark” comment and still wonder how it could be so. I guess it helps show up those who have never had to go through things like that if they hated what Andrew ended up becoming and what he did due to the trauma he suffered.

            It’s also why I could never get into Superman because he was raised in such a loving family and it seemed like he never had to go through childhood bullying or depression or whatever else and thus comes across as “too clean cut and wholesome”, which is something I’ve never experienced.

            Give me the dark, grittiness of Batman instead, he’s more like me with that inner turmoil yet trying to do the right thing and make sure that justice prevails without going into “everything is jolly and full of wonder”, which isn’t the world I’ve seen and lived in for the past 29 years.

            • I grew up in a VERY abusive and broken home. My dad was sexually, physically and mentally abusive to me and my sisters. Especially when he was good and coked up but blah, blah, blah. I’ve never been anything but a happy go lucky goof ball and a bit of a boy scout, hell, someone needs to lighten the mood. That being said I couldn’t really relate to Andrew taking everything so selfishly and feeling sorry for himself.

              As I was growing up I always figured the stuff I was going through was inspiration for books and movies (I’ve always wanted to be a writer/film director) I could relate to Andrew carrying that camera around and trust me there were several times I wanted to kill my dad, he even pointed a gun at me to, “make me a man.” Honestly, I wasn’t an only child and I think siblings help a lot I think if he allowed Matt and Steve to be there for him he would’ve been happier.

              As far as Superman goes he dealt with A LOT of bullying and depression growing up and he’s portray as a lot angrier in the comics than I has in the movies. Superman and Spiderman actually have similar stories (the death of their birth parents, loving adoptive parents, the adoptive father figures death, being teased and bullied, both have regular jobs to pay bills) The screen writers for Spiderman deal with him a lot better.

              Batman on the other hand has never had to worrying about where his next meal was gonna come from. Never bullied, sad 20+ years after his parents death, has a butler, uses he’s billions of dollars to dress in a suit and fight crime opposed to created charities, orphanages, proper rehabilitation systems. If he’s gonna fly around in he’s expensive ass jets and nice cars he could at the very least put a damn smile on his face and stop acting like his life is so hard.

              Iron Man at least looks like his having a good time with his money.

    • It wouldn’t have had nearly the same effect had it not taken a dark turn. It seems only right the sequel it dark too.

  3. I enjoyed this more then the avengers, only because the avengers was too campy.

    • You’re too campy. The Avengers was not campy in the slightest.

      • exactly.

        • I have my opinion, you have yours and I stick by mine. The Avengers was very lighthearted in my opinion.

          • cause its meant to be.

          • I agree that The Avengers was somewhat campy, but I enjoy some campiness every now and again. :-)

      • yeah I didn’t think avengers was campy either dude.

      • Are you serious?! There was plenty of camp in The Avengers.It wasn’t a total campfest,but it definitely had it’s campy moments.

        • I think people are hesitant to agree that it was campy cause they automatically categorize campy as “Bad”. It was totally campy. In the best way.

    • @War Clown

      That’s why I hope Marvel released a Marvel Knights series of movies for us moviegoers older than 15.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the Marvel movies so far but The Avengers to me was the weakest and a little campy. I hate saying that because I love Marvel more than DC (I’m not too schooled in DC history though and am slowly educating myself, starting with Green Arrow: Year One which arrived in the mail last week), it’s just…..can’t help how I feel.

      I mean, I’ll willingly admit that when I saw Avengers in the cinema, I really enjoyed it but found it boring on my second, third and fourth viewings while trying to see if that feeling was just my mood at the time of second viewing (it isn’t).

      Only bad thing about admitting the truth of my opinions is that the sheep jump all over you with immaturity for not blindly loving The Avengers as a movie.

      • Almost like the DC and/or Nolan fanboys who can’t handle criticism of Nolan’s Batman satire.

      • The only problem I have with your opinion is with the statement “That’s why I hope Marvel released a Marvel Knights series of movies for us moviegoers older than 15.”

        I’m much older than 15, and I loved the Avengers. I also happen to enjoy some of the darker movies Hollywood has put out recently, like Chronicle and The Dark Knight. They’re different types of movies, designed to do different things. When I saw Avengers in theaters, the entire crowd was sucked into the movie, cheering and just enjoying the ride. Needless to say, when I saw Chronicle it was a very different experience. But both experiences were worthwhile. It seems to me that you prefer darker, more serious movies. And that’s fine, different strokes for different folks. But just because something doesn’t suit your tastes doesn’t automatically make it immature.

      • You might not like avengers, it’s your opinion. But saying every movie that feels ‘lighthearted’ to you is for below 15 years old is quite unacceptable. I am 21 and (staring at your previous comments) just like you i have faced sad realities and suffered from major cruelties in personal life. I absolutely loved the darkness and grittiness of ‘Chronicles’, doesn’t necessarily mean i have left ‘Avengers’ in the list of my “movies only for immature kids”, and take every movie covering gritty and dark plots as for matured movie goers. “Avengers” and “Chronicles” are two different kind of movies and are meant to be enjoyed differently. Brilliant screenplay, direction, appreciable plot, well-narrated story line define quality in my opinion, not the movie theme or category.

    • Cool story bro

      Lol but seriously, yeah, I agree with you 100%
      I got bullied most of my life, and I would totally make those who hurt me reap what they have sown. The story is dark because reality is dark. Some people can’t handle that, and that’s their preference, but I don’t mind the darkness because its something that most people can easily connect to.

    • Cool story bro…

      Lol but seriously, yeah, I agree with you 100%
      I got bullied most of my life, and I would totally make those who hurt me reap what they have sown. The story is dark because reality is dark. Some people can’t handle that, and that’s their preference, but I don’t mind the darkness because its something that most people can easily connect to.

  4. i p****d… they should let this guy do what he does best. write a script for a world he made. why go against him? he did chronicle 1 and it got great reviews and made a hell of a lot of money!

    let him do the script he wants and everyone can be happy.

    • yeah I say go with the darker script, that was a huge part of what made the original so intriguing!

    • i agree with you, but if hollywood worked that way, things would be MUCH different

    • Dang phone. This was supposed to be a response for Dazz

  5. I understand why some people thought it was dark and misleading because of the trailer. I too was thrown by it, but I enjoyed it. I like movies that break away from cliche Hollywood and go off on their own. It’s a nice feeling going into a movie thinking if it follows most of Hollywood you can predict the ending and then to be surprised..I wish more movies were like that.

  6. Actually, Hollywood almost always goes the way of Action, Violence, and Conflict, it is the easy way to box office success.
    It is the rare movie that can succeed on an enormous scale without resorting to negative and disheartening themes.
    Movies such as Inception, 2001 A Space Odyssey
    Even Source Code finds redemption at the end.
    The biggest TV/Movie series that deals with the human condition in an evolved and humanistic manner is probaby Star Trek, in all of its forms, thank Gene Rodenberry.
    As far as depicting the evolution of psionics and superpowers dne in a convincing manner, but not resorting to “Clockwork Orange” good old Ultraviolence methods, I think the only TV series that accomplished it were the UK show “Misfits” and to some extent “Alphas” (which needed better writing and plots!).

    Chronicle could have went in many more directions. For one, they could have actually WENT to Tibet, and studied with Tibetan monks who have Extraordinary abilites of their own.
    The movie could have then depicted the characters actual own conflicts with weilding great power, and more repercussions to how it is wielded with a group of like minded individuals, instead of the simple road of attacking everything and then collapse.

    It could have depicted more of the internal power and control struggle TO NOT USE the powers to destroy everything around them indiscriminately. But then how use of it to destroy would cause more repercussions then just how the movie ended.
    There was so much more to explore if that were the direction it went in. The young character of myth’s journey aka Joseph Campbell, in a tweaked modern way.
    Not to mention, more hints into the device/object that enabled their powers and its origin and purpose.

    • That would have been super boring.

  7. Ug I hate found footage films. Why!?

    Though it was something new they could have done it with out that one dumb person who has to film every thing. In what world , do we carry a video camera around 24/7? Oh wait! ever since the invention of the IPHONE!

    I’m just burned out on this genre personally.

    - B

    • You aren’t B, I am.


      I’m with you on this though, I’m hoping the 2nd one will NOT be a found footage movie.

      That being said, Chronicle was awesome anyway, despite that trapping. They were very clever on how they removed the trapping slightly, though.


  8. Bring on Chronicle Two. I though the first one was great, I don’t want to join in on this huge debate about the film being ‘too dark’ so I’m just gonna say: I though it was dark but that’s what made it good and it was a very great portrayal of what would have happened in real life with that situation. Yes some movie goers think the film was too dark, and I respect those opinions, but I personally don’t think it could have worked any other way. In short, good movie with a great take on the teenage superhero idea that deserves a sequel and I am glad it is getting one.

  9. Too dark… no way, that’s what made it great. And in a way most realistic in the context of the character. It was dark and brilliant.

    • This is not true, not every person who has suffered lashes out violently. Just because it is the most reactionary immediate response does not mean it is the “obvious” choice. The possible reactions offer a far wider array of possibilities then that limited viewpoint.
      Directors should Think out of the box, Memento, Inception, Primer all prove success can be had in doing so.

      • Deckard, he didn’t say EVERY person would act this way! SHEESH… He said it was realistic how this ONE particular character acted.

  10. Thought Chronicle 1 was pretty weak to be honest. Vastly overrated.

  11. I hope this gets so dark that it won’t see the light of day. Woefully boring, weak self preening characters with absolutely nothing new to say to the viewer. I particularly found the scene where the girl friend had to answer the door to one of the characters (so boring I’d forgot his name)with her cam just to carry the ‘found footage’ theme through utterly contrived. I truly hope the video cam will run out of batteries because this is soooo boring! Oh yeah, and The Avengers was camp as Christmas! I still enjoyed it though – but definitely camp as most of Whedon’s productions are.

  12. The compromise might be a musical version to lighten the mood. With songs including such hits as George Harrison’s “Got my mind set on you” sung by the protagonist as they use telekenesis to threaten the populace. Also including The Everly Brothers “he ain’t heavy” in a scene where the sibling on one of the characters is flung around a room in a fight sequence… Seriously though I hope the compromise isn’t too extreme as the original film was excerlent.

  13. I like the idea of Chronicle 2 being really dark. I think I loved Chronicle because of it. I think because of the darkness it made it feel more real to me. Hopefully the second one will be as good

  14. Chronicle was dark but not so much as to be depressing. I thought it managed to strike a good melancholy tone without getting too grim. The sequel doesn’t have to be a feel-good romp, but I hope they don’t go too far down that road. I prefer at least a bittersweet ending, if not necessarily a happy one.

    Which is not to say that I think they should re-hash the story.

  15. Chronicle was so dark I thought I’d closed my eyes and fell asleep… yaaaawnn.