What Is J.J. Abrams’ ‘500 Rads?’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

Remember when word of a mysterious project called Cloverfield first surfaced? Before we knew it, we were getting a movie about a mostly unseen giant monster causing chaos in New York. Well, it seems that J.J. Abrams might be bringing us something in the same top-secret vein with a project that is being referred to as 500 Rads.

The guys over at Pajiba (thanks to /Film for pointing us to this) have an inside source (who they’re keeping nameless, for good reason) that has given some details on 500 Rads, a project that Abrams and his production company, Bad Robot, are apparently developing in secret.

So what’s it all about? Well, the little info we’ve got beyond the title tells us that it’s in the same vein as Cloverfield and 28 Days Later. Pajiba helpfully points out that a “rad” is an “absorbed radiation dose.” The guys over at /Film did a bit of research, and turned up the info that 500 doses of rad would turn a man sterile, with a woman needing 600. Other info states 500 would be enough to kill you…

Hmmm… If the title 500 Rads turns out to be the actual title of the project (and not just a working one to preserve secrecy), plus the mention of 28 Days Later, it could mean we’re looking at a J.J. Abrams zombie film. The guy us extremely talented and hard-working, and a film about the walking undead from he who brought us the likes of Alias, Lost and Cloverfield sounds nothing less than great to me.

Or perhaps it will be a movie about a mass fertility crisis/outbreak, if we’re to go by the info /Film has found out. Could we be looking at a mixture of Children of Men and Dawn of the Dead? Will it be about an outbreak that at first turns everyone infertile and then into flesh-eating zombies? It’s all speculation at this point.

500 Rads 570x472 What Is J.J. Abrams 500 Rads?

500 Rads: Does it involve some horrific radioactive mishap?

Apparently the film is based on an extensive outline by Abrams himself, and a script has been worked on for a few months now by Jeff Pinkner. However, since Pinkner is busy with Fringe, he hasn’t been able to finish the Rads script, and so Abrams and Co. are supposedly looking at other writers in their “family” to pick up the reigns (no telling whether that means building on Pinkner’s script or doing a complete rewrite). The film is supposed to shoot in Europe (to help maintain secrecy, I’m guessing) and is being budgeted at a surprisingly low $25 million.

This project gives off a strong Inception smell – we have a few more details about what Christopher Nolan’s latest film is about, but less than a year ago it was completely shrouded in secrecy. Could we see the same thing happen with 500 Rads? We all know Abrams is a fan of keeping things secret until he unleashes the marketing (viral or otherwise) on people – and I (like many) enjoy a good movie mystery simple smile What Is J.J. Abrams 500 Rads? .

We’ll definitely keep you posted on just what Abrams’ 500 Rads turns out to be. For now: What do you think it could be? Do you think we’re dealing with a zombie film from the Star Trek director? Or something else entirely? Leave your thoughts and speculation below, we’d love to hear your ideas!

Sources: Pajiba and /Film

TAGS: 500 rads
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  1. Sounds interesting, but I’m a little zombied out. Of course, now we’re getting back to overkill with vampires (no pun intended) after zombies kind of bumped them aside in the pop culture lexicon.


  2. FALLOUT!!!! I am praying he will be doing a Fallout movie.

  3. ohhhh and the fallout film, only two words. HELL YEAH!!!!!!

  4. A Fallout film would be amazing. But, it seems like an RPG game would be kind of hard to make a film of though.

    But, it would be cool. The “rads” thing seems like it might be. But, also a zombie flick from J.J would most likely be great!

  5. @ivan thats excatly what i thought when i saw this, man that would be so awsome fallout is a great movie game idea.

  6. “500 Rads” is the lethal exposure level of radioactivity…
    It would be the equivalent of standing in a red zone or within 5 miles of atomic detonation,,,
    You become sterile around 300 rads. Anything over 500 will kill you within 24 hours. Most people are exposed to 5 to 7 Rads a year on average…

    Abrams, stop with these other films! I want Cloverfield 2!!!
    (With a military steadycam this time)
    No more Abrams praise until C2!!!

  7. I agree with most of you that a Fallout movie would be awesome. There is a movie coming out soon with Denzel Washington that reminds me of Fallout. It’s called The Book of Eli. check out the trailer, it seems pretty decent.

  8. M-Cat, is Fallout a first person shooter, 3rd or RPG?

    These game designers really need to classify this on the fracken box,,!!! 😯

  9. 790

    it’s a combination of all of them. it’s a 1st person shooter with heavy role playing game elements.

  10. I would also like to see a Cloverfield 2 and if there is one please, please and please go steady cam. That was one of the main problems I had with Cloverfield.

  11. M-Cat how bad RPG, anything like KOTOR?

    I can’t stand RPG’s where the action stops so I can tell some guy to cover me or fallback!

  12. Very heavy in role playing. Action is at a minimum and you are alone (except for enemies) throughout 90% of the game.

  13. Ok thanks M-Cat yeah that’s not for me.
    The visuals I’ve seen look amazing but I can’t stand heavy RPGs.

  14. Fallout 3 is one of best games on next gen systems. and it would make a great movie. Book of eli does remind me of that, but fallout 3 has it all, zombies, humans, mutants, vampires, and robots. recipe for some serious stomped anus.

    lol its funny how this has turned into a fallout forum

  15. Pretty sure this is a rebooted prequel to Transformers.

  16. CLOVERFIELD 2 or BUST!!!!!! (and Lens flares rule!)

  17. I hope to god this isnt another feakin zombie movie its ridiculous how many there are i would rather cloverfield 2 any day

  18. I believe the budget provides a strong hint at the type of film we could be looking at. Generally speaking the Zombie genre is a lot less expensive to produce then your regualr SciFi stuff mainly because of the effects being more prostectics and less CGI. Thats not to say there is no CGI only a lot less then say Cloverfield.

    Then again the budget itself may be misleading. If they can produce a movie under fake name then why not a fake budget so as to downplay the movies actual sinificance? If the budget were actually say 250 million and you just dropped the last digit and intenionally leaked inof about it, then if at a later time the real budget of $250 million got out it woouldn’t be hard to play it off and say it’s just someone trying to make something out of nothing. Just an idea.

  19. Abrams is the s***. I dont get the people giving cloverfield sooo much praise but then asking him to shoot the next one with a steadycam… That was like a HUGE part of the movie was the shaky, realistic look to it. It was supposed to make you feel like you were apart of the conflict. I think he was extremely effective in that regard and people who got sick or whatever when watching it are just lamee. Also one of the coolest things about cloverfield was so well they kept it shrouded in mystery until literally weeks before release (ala district 9). I personally think that is such a smart tactic by Abrams and I wish other directors took the same approach he did.

    On to 500 rads… I hope this will be a fallout movie. When I played thru the game (surprisingly short) I thought instantly that it could make for a sweet movie. Maybe it was Liam Nesson voicing your charismatic father but the whole post apocalyptic Washington DC setting totally sold me from the get go. For some reason tho it seems like there are a couple of movies that are going in the direction of a fallout setting. You have that denzel movie book of eli that looks really sweet and you have that movie The Road based on cormac mccarthys novel. Thats more post apocalyptic movies than we’ve seen in a year than we’ve seen in a decade. Is post apocalyptic the new zombies or vampires?

  20. @Fenix

    Please don’t try to circumvent the site filters by substituting characters so you can still drop the s-bomb on the site.

    That still violates our no profanity rule since the intent is to write the same word.


  21. Ah sorry, I like Abrams

  22. could 500 rads possibly just refer to radiation? isn’t clover supposedly a mutated sea creature?? the first cloverfield movie had a VERY low budget, just like this, and its been rumored that a cloverfield sequel could take place in a different part of the world.

    i know i’m strectching, but my god i want a cloverfield sequel. the first was awesome!!!! and fenix is right, the shaky cam is what made cloverfield so different and unique. i know other movies have used it, but not to the effect of cloverfield. it’s the only shaky cam movie to actually do what it intended, which is put you in the movie. and i really don’t see how people get sick watching it…i just don’t get it.