Alfonso Cuarón Not Directing 'Fantastic Beasts'; Talks 'Shining' Prequel Rumors

Alfonso Cuaron not directing Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Director Alfonso Cuarón spent around five years making his 3D outer space survival thriller, Gravity; all the effort paid off in the end, though, as the Sandra Bullock vehicle went on to gross over $700 million worldwide and won seven Academy Awards (including two for Cuarón). Since then, of course, we've been waiting to see what the acclaimed filmmaker will do next - and, in recent weeks, reports have emerged, linking Cuarón to two intriguing projects: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and The Overlook Hotel.

Fantastic Beasts, for those who are new to this conversation, is a fantasy adventure - set in the Harry Potter universe - that takes place 70 years before the boy wizard's saga, and has a script being written by HP creator J.K. Rowling. Overlook Hotel, as it were, is also a prequel-ish installment in a Warner Bros. franchise - one that started with Stephen King's horror novel, The Shining - with Glen Mazzara (a former show-runner on The Walking Dead TV series) assigned to screenwriter duties.

However, despite the recent claims that Cuarón is "deep in talks" to direct Fantastic Beasts, the director told the Global Post "I have no plans of any kind" to direct a new movie soon, and that he is currently looking to take a break - to spend time with his kids and for "connecting with life." Cuarón also indicated that he doesn't intend to work on an effects-heavy project (like a new installment in the Harry Potter franchise) anytime soon, as his followup to Gravity.

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them needs a director

The Cuarón-directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has all the expected blockbuster window dressing, but it's the film's indie sensibility (tangible world-building, allegorical significance) that allowed it to scale new artistic heights for the Harry Potter series, back when it released in 2004. Unfortunately, as much as he enjoyed the experience of making the movie, Cuarón has indicated that when he does get back to work, it'll probably be on a project that's smaller in scale:

"It was a very beautiful experience for me [making 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban']. I have a lot of love for that universe and I tremendously admire J.K. Rowling, but today, for the present, projects based around lots of visual effects don't attract me. I'm coming out of a five-year process of doing visual effects and now I sort of want to clean my palate of that a little bit."

Fantastic Beasts is already scheduled for theatrical release in late 2016 and, should it be a financial success, could be the first chapter in a new film trilogy; which is to say, Warner Bros. might be seeking a director who'll commit to multiple installments, as Franchise Lawrence is doing on the Hunger Games franchise (or David Yates did with the fifth through eighth original Harry Potter movies). If Cuarón's already hesitant enough about taking on yet another effects-heavy blockbuster so soon after Gravity, then it's all the less likely that he will join a franchise in the making. So, for now, it seems we can put the Fantastic Beasts rumor to rest.

Shining Prequel Director Overlook Hotel

As for Overlook Hotel: in the Global Post interview Cuarón confessed to being "a big fan" of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining film adaptation. However, according to the article, the filmmaker is "not up to date" on development for that project - which, to be fair, hasn't shown many signs of forward progress, ever since Mazzara was reported to have set to work on the script over a year ago.

Rumor is that Cuarón's being considered as a director for the Shining prequel, so it's not unreasonable to assume that he hasn't been formally approached yet - and thus, is telling the truth, when he claims to have no knowledge of what's going on, as far as that project is concerned. WB would surely prefer to keep Cuarón under its roof for the time being, and having him direct Overlook Hotel would be a way of doing that. Plus, as we've mentioned before, having Cuarón follow alongside Kubrick's footsteps would be interesting, given the similarities between their respective stylistic tendencies as directors.

However, until further notice, it looks as though there's not much more to all this talk about potential upcoming Cuarón movies than just that: talk.


Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016.

We'll keep you posted on progress for The Overlook Hotel.

Source: Global Post

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