“FINAL DESTINATION 2″: NO CRASH LANDING

Jeffrey Reddick, the writer of Final Destination, and an executive producer on “Final Destination 2,” originally sold the Final Destination project based only on a skimpy twelve page outline, then entitled “Flight 180,” that hooked producers Craig Perry and Warren Zide, who commissioned Glen Morgan and James Wong of “The X-Files” fame to rewrite the script and direct the film that went on to gross over $60 Million during its North American theatrical run. “Final Destination 2″‘s writers, Bress and Gruber, just wrapped their first directing effort, the dark thriller “The Butterfly Effect” and they were once managed by the producing duo. “A friend of mine once slipped one of our scripts to Zide Entertainment and they signed us immediately which led to “The Butterfly Effect” and now, circuitously, to “Final Destination 2,”’ explains Bress. “Zide and Perry gave us a call one day and asked us to pitch them some ideas for a sequel. We hadn’t even seen “Final Destination” and I think we were both expecting some more I Still Know What You Did Last Summer type of garbage, but we loved it and the film hooked us. Since we’re dark people, writing this script was a great chance to have fun.”

According to Gruber, the best way to deal with the memories of Final Destination in terms of writing “Final Destination 2″ was just to move on. “Alex Browning’s legacy is in the script, but it’s all done via exposition,” explains Gruber. “But for the most part, we tried to kick Flight 180 out of the way and start totally fresh. Death has moved on, so why shouldn’t the audience? We really went for maximum fear with this script: mystery, terror and anonymity, because death has no face and you never know when it’s going to strike. One of the most interesting things in Final Destination that’s in the script for the sequel is the design of death: how the characters figure out the order of who’s going to die. Is it fate that you’re going to get into a car that crashes or a plane that crashes? I don’t think so. The characters in this film have to figure out when their number is up and avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is what we do as human beings every day. The trick is to not be in the wrong spot when the death ticket arrives.”

Who is David Ellis, the director of “Final Destination 2?” Like many filmmakers making his directorial debut, Ellis served a long and grueling apprenticeship as a technician in Hollywood: he’s worked, primarily as a second unit action maven, on such films as The Perfect Storm, Deep Blue Sea and “Waterworld.” While not a huge horror fan, Ellis says that he’s a fan of good movies period. “I hadn’t seen much horror prior to ‘Final Destination 2′,” Ellis says with a laugh. “I watched a ton of them once I got the gig to see what the other experts like to do. You know, I’ve been around for thirty years, a long time, so success hasn’t happened overnight. Once I saw the script for “Final Destination 2″ and New Line gave me an offer, I was ready to make the transition to director.” According to Ellis, his most important task on “Final Destination 2″ was to make it stand on its own two feet. “I only watched Final Destination to see what made it so successful. I took what worked and dumped what didn’t. I think this one is less predictable in that we have death working backwards this time and we’ve got lots more twists.”

Ellis was as anxious as his fellow collaborators to explain away the events of Final Destination so “Final Destination 2″ could move forward with its fresh new story and turn the page once and for all. “We mention that Alex died between the two films,” explains Ellis. “So there. We bring back Bludworth who’s pretty much the same guy he was before except that this time he gives more clues to the teens that they can follow to try and cheat death or keep death from going after them. Tony has the same amount of screen time as he did in the first one, but he’s great, I love him. Other than that, it’s all A.J. and Ali; they’re the two leads. I was very impressed with A.J.. We saw hundreds of girls for the part and she was the strongest of all of them. I think she’s a great, strong, smart scream queen. You know, I just want “Final Destination 2″ to be a nonstop thrill machine and nothing else. I know we have a thrilling opening scene where there’s a big crash that forms Kimberly’s premonition and we just go from there with little breaks for the audience in between, just so they can catch a breath. We’ve also got a great opening for a sequel and I think “Final Destination 3″ would be great. What I’ve learned, directing “Final Destination 2,” is that horror films are all about audience manipulation in the best sense, and that’s what “Final Destination 2″ is going to do from start to finish.




Posted on February 7, 2003 in Interviews by
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