Movie Fanatic was among a small group of publications that spent yesterday on the 20th Century Fox lot getting an inside look at the upcoming film Chronicle. We met with director, Josh Trank, and saw a half dozen scenes from the teens-as-superheroes film that more than surprised us and has us salivating to see the entire flick.
We were also given an exclusive clip for our group of journalists that gives our readers a good feel for what they can expect when Chronicle arrives in theaters February 3.
Trank, we can already tell, is a visionary whose career we will be watching closely. His film follows a group of teens as they make an astounding discovery in a deep hole. Emerging from the area, they discover they have super powers. What’s a teen boy to do? The first act of the film finds them trying to control their new powers and find ways to use them. Boys are boys and there are plenty of pranks that we saw in the clips that were hilarious. But, then as the film heads into its second and third acts, things get darker.
Chronicle is an insanely original idea -- taking the superhero genre and turning it on its head in a found-footage, POV-style film. Trank’s excitement for his film was palpable.
“It’s surreal to me that I was able to make it,” Trank said. His journey to making Chronicle had its seeds in his own teenage years. “All my daydreams always seemed to turn to telekinetic fantasies.”
Just from what we could cull from the scenes, the story of Chronicle is small -- just a group of friends -- but its span is huge. “I knew that it had qualities of an indie movie because most of the scenes play out with an understated narrative drive. The quiet moments connect the bigger moments,” Trank said. “But at the same time, it has this big blockbuster scope.”
The idea of teenagers getting superpowers is intriguing. We believe that most would not behave as Peter Parker famously does by donning a suit and going out to fight evil. These are teens, and as such, some of what they do would be for completely selfish reasons. “We have these scenes with our main characters out there doing things and they’re doing it without any shame,” Trank said.
Chronicle is unique in every way. It could easily be a superhero movie. The film could be classified as a found-footage film. There could also be an argument made that Chronicle is a classic John Hughes high school film, where The Breakfast Club characters could move two-ton cars.
One of the most powerful scenes that Movie Fanatic witnessed involved the Seattle Space Needle. It is harrowing to say the least. The fact that it is shown in a point-of-view manner makes it all the more compelling. The reasons for setting Chronicle in Seattle are clear, but Trank at first had to joke. “I grew up in the ‘90s, loved Nirvana,” he said and laughed. Seriously, there was a specific reason that the Pacific Northwest city was chosen.
“We were trying to think about a city that has something science fiction about it. I couldn’t think of any other movie that was set there, so we were all very excited about it and the set piece we showed you a clip of -- the Space Needle -- well, that provided something special.”
Trank’s opinion of found-footage and point-of-view shooting is high, when it is done right. He feels, with Chronicle, the story is “chronicled” through the character of Andrew -- who always has a video camera on him. Once he gets his telekinetic powers, he doesn’t even need to hold the camera, it just follows him shooting every fantastical step.
“It started out as a found-footage idea because I really wanted to shoot a story that is almost a no-no of found footage,” Trank said. “How are you going to go cinematic with this kind of invention? If you had a character that is really visually gifted and can operate his camera telekinetically then, what would that look like if the camera was following me around that way?”
Now, it is with great pleasure that we present to you a clip given to us exclusively at the Chronicle event, thanks to Fox!