Jeffrey Reddick ('Final Destination') #1
'Still Knockin' On Destiny's Fiery Door'
When a boy starts having a premonition of Flight 180 crashing, he tells his friends before they board that it is a bad idea and to not to take the flight. His friends listen to him and don't go and soon after the plane crashes. Now since his friends didn't get on the plane one by one they are getting killed in mysterious ways.
The sole survivor is Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) who voluntarily checks herself into a padded room at Stonybrook Institute. 'FD2' takes place on Flight 180's one-year anniversary. Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) is joyriding with some friends on Route 23 when she "sees" herself, her friends, and other drivers involved in a massive multi-car pileup.
Now, the fright-filled 'Final Destination' franchise returns to theaters this February. Set six years after the original film, the latest installment in the series centers around a high school senior who has a premonition of a fatal roller coaster accident involving herself and all her friends.
With the additional tagline of 'Death Is Coming,' 2000's Final Destination' brought the horror genre gloriously kicking and screaming into the 21st Century ... and along with it, Creator Jeffrey Reddick.
Reddick, born in Jackson, Kentucky and having attended Berea College in Berea, always wanted to be in filmmaking. At 14, after watching 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' he typed a 10-page prequel and sent it to New Line Cinema. But the studio wasn't sold on the unsolicited manuscript and sent it back to him, stating that Reddick had "a fertile imagination" but his story "lacked structure." Reddick then started a letter-and-phone relationship with them which eventually landed him an internship with the company during college ... which lasted over ten years.
Having also written the stories for 'Return to Cabin by the Lake' (2001) and the sequel to 'FD,' Reddick now turns his attention to a more "grounded" horror movie, along with a Romero remake of a classic zombie tale.
In Part 1 of this exclusive chat with the original Creator of the 'Final Destination' franchise, Jeffrey Reddick, I first asked Jeff to what extent he had been this projects originator? ”I sold the original treatment to New Line Cinema and then I wrote the first draft of the script. I also executive produced and sold the story for the second movie as well."
Where did your acorn of inspiration first originate for the first ‘Final Destination’ treatment? ”Well, it’s very simple and so interesting. I was on a plane flying down to Kentucky one time. I was sitting and waiting to take off and I read this article that had this story of this woman who was supposed to be on a flight that crashed. Her mother had called her that morning and told her that whatever she did for her to not get on that plane that day, as she had had a bad feeling about the flight. And so the woman didn’t take the flight ... and the flight went down! And I couldn’t help but think what if she was meant to die in the crash? So that’s what started the whole process.”
”Its funny, but when the movie came out it came out about a year or so after a flight went down in New York. So a lot of people thought that that had been my inspiration. But that wasn’t true as my inspiration came directly from that article and out of my own fascination with death.”
OK, so just where does your fascination with death stem from?! ”Well, I think it’s just a universal fear. I think it’s just a fear of what lies beyond death. A lot of people think that death really is your final destination and a lot of people – like myself – think there’s something more afterwards. But, it’s kind of a fear of the unknown. I’ve always said I’m not afraid of dying ... I just don’t want to die painfully,” he laughs long and loud.
In your original treatment, was it always entitled ‘Final Destination’? ”You know, this is a really funny story. Originally I called it ‘Flight 180,’ but having worked at New Line for eleven years and thinking along the lines of marketing, I knew that if there was a sequel that we couldn’t call it ‘Flight 182’! Then ‘Flight 183’ and ‘Flight 184’ and so on! So, I was talking to one of my friends, Brett Leitner who worked with me at New Line as well, and he said that death was like the final destination of life. And they always say on your flight, ‘Welcome to your final destination’! So, we both loved that idea and thought it was awesome, deep and cool and told the filmmakers about it … and they hated it! But, the studio liked it so they made them change it!”
Do you have any connection to this upcoming third 'Final Destination' sequel? ”No, they went back to James Wong and Glen Morgan who directed and co-wrote the first one.”
It’s been told that the ending of the ‘FD3’ was re-shot, reportedly because of unfavorable reactions at preview screenings. But didn’t the same thing happen to your original ‘Final Destination’ too?! ”Yes, the ending for the first movie was definitely re-shot because of bad test scores. In the first movie, of which you can see the original ending on the DVD, the first movie ended in a nice way, but it was kind of a whimper. For the theatrical release they remade it with more of a bang at the end and the test scores shot up through the roof for the movie!”
So, what’s upcoming for you? ”Well, my horror movie ‘Tamara’ is coming out in February, I’m working on the ‘Day Of The Dead’ remake right now, and I have a few other horror scripts through my own Production Company, Short End Productions. We have two other scripts of mine that we’re working on getting the financing for this year … and I plan to direct one of them. I will finally make my directorial debut,” he laughs.
Wow, please do tell us more about your involvement in the 'Day Of The Dead' project, and will it be a shot-for-shot remake? "Well, while we are certainly paying homage to George Romero’s ‘Day Of The Dead’ Steve Miner [Director] and I have really worked hard to create a story that is definitely respectful of the original - whilst telling a new Zombie story for our generation. George Romero was very good about framing his movies in the time that they were set."
"Like, in the ‘60s with racial unrest in the ‘Night Of The Living Dead,’ and the consumerism in the Reagan eras with ‘Dawn Of The Dead.' And so what I want to do is set this movie in the here and now, the culture that we live in, and the fears that we have about our National Security and things like that. And so I wanted to take those things that George Romeo did and put my stamp on it.”
Did you have any major trepidation about taking on such a revered, beloved project? "Well, first of all when it was brought to my attention, I knew that all the fans were gonna hate me for doing another remake – and I don’t like remakes – but then I heard that Steve Miner was gonna direct it. And he’s directed a lot of my favorite genre films. Like ‘Friday The 13th, Part II,’ ‘Warlock,’ ‘House’ and ‘Halloween H2O.’ And so when I heard that he was attached I knew that the film itself would be in good hands. And then I started thinking that if I don’t take this job somebody else will and what if they hire somebody who’s not a fan of the genre and doesn’t respect George Romero’s original? And then they just make some really crappy sequel? So, I thought better me then some Joe off the street!”
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a brand new, full-length Movie Poster of 'FINAL DESTINATION 3', just answer this easy question: In Jeffrey Reddick's upcoming horror flick 'Tamara,' director Jeremy Haft notes that the ending hospital scene had quite a few Internet people noting that the same scenario occurred in what other cult horror movie?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win a wonderful brand new, full-length Movie Poster of 'FINAL DESTINATION 3'! Just send us an e:mail here before March 1st with your answer and the subject title 'FD3 MOVIE POSTER' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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