Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack cast in Cell. The casting of Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack in the American Film Marketed Cell answers the question of who will play the main lead roles in Tod Williams directed film. John Cusack will play Clay Riddell and Samuel L. Jackson will play Tom McCourt. Clay Riddell (from the book) is “a graphic artist separated from his family in Boston as the Pulse destroys civilization. Clay heads north with a group of survivors and tries to find his son, Johnny.” Tom McCourt is “an engineer and former soldier who joins Clay in his attempt to flee Boston.”
On the people behind the scenes of Cell and its production schedule:
production set to begin in January. Benaroya Pictures is financing…Producers are Richard Saperstein, Michael Benaroya, Brian Witten and Shara Kay…The screenplay for “Cell” was written by Stephen King and Adam Alleca (“Last House on the Left”). Edward Mokhtarian, Armen Aghaeian, Xavier Gens, and Laurence Freed will executive produce.
On Cell (the novel):
Cell is an apocalyptic horror novel published by American author Stephen King in 2006. An excerpt was published in the January 24, 2006 issue of Entertainment Weekly. The story follows a New England artist struggling to reunite with his young son after a mysterious signal broadcast over the global cell phone network turns the majority of his fellow humans into mindless vicious animals.
On Cell‘s path to its film adaptation:
On March 8, 2006, website Ain’t It Cool News announced that Dimension Films had bought the film rights to the book and would produce a film to be directed by Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) for a 2009 release.
Said Roth about his approach to the film:
I love that book. Such a smart take on the zombie movie. I am so psyched to do it. I think you can really do almost a cross between the Dawn of the Dead remake with a ‘Roland Emmerich’ approach (for lack of a better reference) where you show it happening all over the world. When the pulse hits, I wanna see it hit EVERYWHERE. In restaurants, in movie theaters, at sports events, all the places that people drive you crazy when they’re talking on their cell phones. I see total armageddon. People going crazy killing each other – everyone at once – all over the world. Cars smashing into each other, people getting stabbed, throats getting ripped out. The one thing I always wanted to see in zombie movies is the actual moment the plague hits, and not just in one spot, but everywhere. You usually get flashes of it happening around the world on news broadcasts, but you never actually get to experience it happening everywhere. Then as the phone crazies start to change and mutate, the story gets pared down to a story about human survival in the post-apocalyptic world ruled by phone crazies. I’m so excited, I wish the script was ready right now so I could start production. But it’ll get written (or at least a draft will) while I’m doing Hostel 2, and then I can go right into it. It should feel like an ultra-violent event movie.
On June 15, 2007, Eli Roth posted in his MySpace blog that he would not be directing Cell “anytime soon”, as he planned to spend the rest of the year writing other projects. On July 10, 2009, he dropped out of the project, saying:
There was just sort of a difference in opinion on how to make to film and what the story should be, and there’s a different direction the studio wants to go with it. It was very friendly because it’s the Weinsteins, they made Inglourious Basterds and we’re all friends. I said, ‘I’m not really interested in doing the film this way. You guys go ahead and I’m going to make my own films.’ I’ve also learned that I really am only interested in directing original stories that I write, that’s another thing I learned through that whole process.
On November 11, 2009, Stephen King announced at a book signing in Dundalk, Maryland that he had finished a screenplay. He stated that he had complaints with the ending of the book and it was redone for the screenplay.
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