Terminator: Genisys is the 2015 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that most people are talking about right now, but it’s not the actor’s only film arriving this year. The other feature in question is Maggie: a somewhat curious project that started out as a script on the 2011 Hollywood Blacklist for best unproduced screenplays. Relative newcomer John Scott 3’s spec script passed through a few hands (like Timur Bekmambetov‘s), before it was eventually produced and found a home at Lionsgate.
Maggie stars Schwarzenegger as Wade, a farmer whose teenaged daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) has been infected with a deadly zombie virus that is spreading across the globe. Wade is warned about the changes that Maggie will now go through – and that, after eight weeks, he must place his daughter in quarantine with other infected people. However, as the days go by, Wade finds himself struggling more and more with his decision about how best to protect his sick child.
For more, check out the first Maggie trailer, embedded above.
It would seem that Maggie, going by the film’s trailer footage and synopsis, is more of a father/daughter drama than the coming of age parable it originally appeared to be – though, there may well be elements of the latter (see: the shot of Maggie and what appears to be her “zombie boyfriend”). Meanwhile, in terms of visuals, the film seems to ring closer to The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later… school of zombie storytelling (read: combining realism with the fantastical), as far as previous movies and TV shows about the undead are concerned.
The trailer plays up more of the action/thriller aspects, but (like Walking Dead) Maggie appears to be heavier on the slow-burn human drama – offering a more personal look at the zombpocalypse in the process. Combine that with Schwarzenegger delivering what appears to be a fine dramatic performance – one that requires him to shed his celebrity persona far more than any of his recent films – and you have what could be an interesting new spin on the zombie sub-genre.
The Maggie script (which, as mentioned before, has been generating buzz for years now) was brought to life by Henry Hobson: a first-time helmsman who was responsible for the memorably-stylish credits in such films as Sherlock Holmes (2009), Fright Night (2011), and Snow White and the Huntsman, among others. Hobson, working in collaboration with cinematographer Lukas Ettlin (Black Sails), may well have crafted a film that successfully blends verisimilitude with striking imagery – going by the trailer, anyway.
Lionsgate pulled the plug on the original plan for Maggie to debut at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, shortly after it acquired the movie. The feature is now going to premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival (as mentioned in the trailer), just a few weeks before it starts playing in U.S. theaters. That suggests that Lionsgate might well be confident about the movie (there seems to be little reason to debut Maggie at the 2015 TFF otherwise), but didn’t see much benefit in a far earlier festival showing.
May is the beginning of the summer tentpole season in Hollywood, so Maggie is being positioned to serve as counter-programming to films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mad Max: Fury Road in theaters. Funnily enough, this indie project might well perform better at the box office than many of Schwarzenegger’s recent wide-release action movies (The Last Stand, Sabotage). Who would’ve predicted that, just a couple years ago?
Maggie begins a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on May 8th, 2015.