However, with Edwards set to direct a new Godzilla film for Legendary Pictures, he won’t be returning as director for the project.
Monsters was hands down my favourite independent film of last year, and one of my favourite independent films of all time, and I’m in two minds about the announcement. On the one hand, getting a chance to see more of the world Edwards created in Monsters, if done well, could certainly be ineresting. On the other, in my eyes, Edwards’ creation was perfect, and isn’t especially in need of a sequel.
I will remain optimistic, though, and keep an open mind until the project develops any further. I truly love Monsters, so hopefully its sequel will be just as brilliant. Whilst Edwards isn’t going to be directing, he will stay on as executive producer, which gives me hope that the sequel will remain true to the original. Scoot McNairy, who had the lead male role in Monsters, will also be producing alongside Edwards, along with Rupert Preston (Monsters, Bronson) of Vertigo, and Ben Pugh and Rory Aitken of Between The Eyes.
Replacing Edwards will be the directing duo of Brent Bonacorso and Jesse Atlas, who have previously worked together on sci-fi short, Now and Nowhere. Like Edwards, Bonacorso has also got much experience in visual effects, which will be important for the sequel, should the directors take the same path Edwards did, and take charge of the effects themselves. (Should you be so inclined, like me, you can take a look at some of Bonacorso’s works here. I recommend the Panasonic advert and the West of the Moon trailer. They’re really quite impressive.)
This time, the story will revolve around a teacher who goes in search of his long-lost brother. And according to Allan Niblo of Vertigo, the creatures will be getting a lot more screen time in the sequel. These two things are what make me a little wary. I think what made Monsters so brilliant was that the story focused on the incredibly convincing relationship between McNairy and Whitney Able (helped by the fact that they were engaged whilst filming, and are now married), and that the creatures themselves were not at the foreground. I recognise that there were some that saw it and thought the opposite, but in my mind, Edwards’ decision to focus on character development was a bold one, and certainly proved the right one. Given the fact that the new story will revolve around two brothers, the intimacy of McNairy and Able’s relationship won’t be present like it was in Monsters, and therefore loses what gave the original its magic.
Having said all that, if Bonacorso and Atlas were to have another male and female lead, it’s quite possible that they’d simply be retelling a slightly altered version of the same story, so perhaps choosing to recast the leads as two brothers is the better choice for the sequel; only time will tell. According to Niblo, there’s already been much interest from actors wanting to join the cast. He says,
“We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t find the right talent [in the two new directors]. Gareth loves their vision. People want to see more of this world.”
Vertigo have said that they still want to keep the film at a budget of under $5 million, which (if they go close to the upper limit) will be about a 900% increase on Monsters’ budget, but admittedly is less than almost all similar movies necessitating strong visual effects being made at the moment. They’ve also said that they want to shoot over a period of six months, and do the filming this time in Argentina or the Dominican Republic, which should give a slightly different feel to Edwards’ production in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Texas.
As much as I am in two minds about the need for a sequel, I have to admit that I’m still really looking forward to seeing how this project turns out. My love of the original Monsters will in no way be diminished if the sequel turns out not to live up to expectations, and if it ends up being just as good as the original, then we’ll be getting another brilliant film set in the world of Gareth Edwards’ Monsters.