This summer’s Dark Shadows marks the first collaboration between screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith and director Tim Burton. However, that duo is already working together again on a new project titled Night of the Living, a ghoulish stop-motion animated flick along the lines of Burton’s Corpse Bride and upcoming Frankenweenie feature.
Smith has reportedly started the writing process on Night of the Living, based on his own original idea. Burton is already committed to helming the project – which could potentially be his next directorial effort (more on that later).
It’s certainly possible that Night of the Living (as its title indicates) is a direct riff on George A. Romero’s classic zombie movie Night of the Living Dead – which would be in keeping with Smith’s propensity for subverting genre tropes (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and refashioning well-established stories (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Concrete details on the new Smith script, however, are currently being kept under wraps.
Here is how the author/screenwriter described the project, during a recent interview with THR:
“… ‘Night of the Living’ is an idea I have had around for years that I’m doing with Tim Burton. When we were shooting ‘Dark Shadows’ last year I worked up the nerve to tell Tim about it because I always thought it would make a good movie. When I saw what he had done with ‘Frankweenie’ and ‘Corpse Bride’, it always struck me as a great idea for that form. I’m writing it at Warner’s Bros. for him (as a stop-motion monster movie).”
Burton is currently either loosely attached to direct (or linked as a “creative advisor” on) numerous in-development projects, including, the Monsterpocalypse board game movie, a new adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a cinematic take on the popular Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children novel – and a Pinocchio adaptation potentially starring Robert Downey Jr. (as Gepetto, not the titular wooden puppet).
However, it sounds as though Night of the Living is a film that Burton may select to move ahead with before any of the aforementioned additional projects he’s tentatively associated with. That should be welcome news for fans of the director’s creature features in general – along with moviegoers who feel Burton’s true strength as a filmmaker lies in the area of stop-motion animation.
Smith will turn in his script draft for Night of the Living before he sets to work adapting his Unholy Night novel – and, thereafter, plans to write Beetlejuice 2 with Burton in mind as director. Naturally, we here at Screen Rant will strive to keep you up-to-date on the status of all three impending projects.