The recent news that James Wan, the director of the original Saw, is leaving the horror genre behind felt like the end of an era. With recent hits like Wan’s The Conjuring and Insidious films shaking up the genre of late - along with titles like The Purge and Sinister – it seems like the gore-soaked torture themes of the past couple of decades have faded as old-fashioned chills take center stage.
With that in mind, it makes a certain amount of sense for someone like Wan to move into different territory – namely the universe of Fast and Furious 7. It appears that a couple of the other talents behind the Saw and The Collector franchises are similarly stepping further out of their comfort zone.
According to THR, screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan replace Shawn Christensen – who will be working on the feature version of his Oscar-winning short film Curfew - in adapting the The Stuff of Legend graphic novel by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith into a family film for Disney. Peter Candeland (a former Disney animator) currently attached to direct the story set against the backdrop of World War II, and follows a group of toys in Brooklyn who venture into a world known as The Dark to rescue their owner from the clutches of The Boogeyman. Think darker Toy Story.
Melton and Dunstan wrote four out of the seven Saw films – specifically, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. They are also responsible for the Piranha 3DD screenplay, and began their career with the monster movie Feast, the making of which was featured on the third – and final – season of Project Greenlight, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s reality project experiment to find budding filmmakers and jump start their career. Dunstan, who joined us for an episode of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, and Melton also wrote and directed The Collector and last year’s followup, The Collection. They’re also taking on the ambitious God of War video game adaptation for Sony.
The Stuff of Legend sounds like an intriguing opportunity for Melton and Dunstan to stretch their horror chops into new dimensions, and given the interesting side-note that the graphic novel’s co-writer Mike Raicht is a co-scripter on the Army of Darkness comic book series, they should have plenty of imagery to use to their advantage. This may be a Disney film, but my guess is that anyone who writes four Saw films (and two Collector movies) cannot be easily toned down, but rather tempered, and the pairing of this talent with this source material is potentially very interesting.
The Stuff of Legends is in development, with no release date set.