Here is the synopsis of Anna and the Apocalypse, courtesy of IMDb:
A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas - forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.
This quirky take to the zombie/musical genre was based on the 2010 BAFTA-nominated short. Mr. John McPhail( Where Do We Go From Here?, Up There) directed the feature while the late Mr. Ryan McHenry and Mr. Alan McDonald wrote the screenplay. So, please take this time to get know Mr. Alan McDonald, the superb co-screenwriter of Anna and the Apocalypse and his writing experience.
1. In one sentence could you say what Anna and the Apocalypse is all about?
It's about that moment growing up when suddenly all the things you thought would be around forever aren't there anymore - and who you become next.
2. What is the genesis of Anna and the Apocalypse?
Anna started as a short film devised by my friend and co-writer Ryan McHenry, who was watching High School Musical with his girlfriend and found himself wishing zombies would come in and eat everyone.
3. How was the short film of Anna and the Apocalypse noticed by BAFTA to get a nomination?
It received a BAFTA New Talent award and nominations after being submitted for consideration in the early years of feature development.
4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of Anna and the Apocalypse?
Ryan did the very first draft of the feature by himself, and it was mostly just a rough expansion of the short film. Together, we then wrote the first full draft, which took around 6-8 weeks. Both of us had day jobs at the time so we used to do ten pages and then send to the other guy for polishes. He would then do the subsequent ten and we'd repeat that until done!
5. On average, how many draft scripts do you find yourself writing until you are happy and satisfied with the final script to Anna and the Apocalypse?
Well, it wasn't just up to me! Ryan and I wrote around 3 or 4 drafts together, then after we sadly lost him I wrote around 4 or 5 solo. That doesn't include as least as many polishes or revision drafts based upon the notes of various involved parties. It takes many, many drafts of a script before you get to shoot. I'd estimate the shooting script was something around draft twenty.
6. What was your experience like working with Mr. John McPhail and the Apocalypse?
John was extremely supportive and generous all the way through the process. He was very keen to have me close throughout pre-production and again on set, and he brought a lot of really strong ideas about the heart of the story and the horror aspects we could emphasize. John is a real horror guy, whereas I'm more of teen movie and musical guy. It meshed well!
7. If you could describe Ryan McHenry using three words, it would be… and please discuss briefly how he influenced Anna and the Apocalypse in general?
Funny, loyal, talented
The entire concept was Ryan's. I brought my love of teen movies, Buffy and musicals in general to the mix. He was a huge Edgar Wright fan who was very keen to put his own stamp on the horror and cult British film landscape. We always wanted to make a film we would have loved to go see at the cinema, which also represented the way genre intersected with our own lives in Scotland. The idea was we would make Hollywood-style stories in our own voice. So Ryan is still in the DNA of the final film, even though he sadly didn't get to make it himself, because that intention is still clear within the final movie.
8. Could you give a fun fact about Ella Hunt and Malcolm Cumming?
Ella did a funny impression of Thor for a little in-character Avengers parody we shot, and the way she groaned while lifting the hammer still makes me laugh to this day. It was fabulously odd.
Malcolm was still at drama school when he auditioned for the film and was wearing a Ghostbusters sweater in his audition video that immediately made him look like the character. It was surprisingly hard to find someone who could wear that ridiculous jumper and still be sweet!
9. What do you want viewers to remember about Anna and the Apocalypse?
That it made them laugh and cry. That's all we ever wanted.
10. What’s your favorite song to sing in Karaoke? Why?
Losing My Religion by REM. I'm a huge REM fan and the song is perfect within my very limited singing range!
11. What is the scariest thing you have ever done for fun?
I hiked up a mountain in the dark for New Year's Day back when I lived in South Korea, shortly after University. No safety rails, ice everywhere and we could barely see a thing. But the view when the sun came up on January 1st was amazing.
12. What was the last story (fiction or non-fiction) you read?
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. An ASTONISHING sci-fi novel about evolution and the things we consider to be human.
13. Which screenwriter or film influenced Anna and the Apocalypse?
There's a fair bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Shaun of the Dead in there.
14. What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on Anna and the Apocalypse? How did that lesson happen?
Not to be afraid of a bit of hope and heart, even in the darkness. That what's makes a story resonate. And, sadly, I had to learn it after I lost Ryan to cancer and was left writing the script alone. It took a little while to find the heart again - and that was with the help of our producers, Naysun Alae-Carew and Nic Crum, and Script Executive, Gillian Christie. They really supported me through a very difficult process.
15. How do Anna and the Apocalypse primarily differentiate or distinguish itself from other zombie or musical movies?
It's Christmas! Actually, we tried very hard to hit the main beats of both genres. Sometimes that opens us up to accusations that we maybe played it too safe and did too many things you might expect, but it's hard to meet the requirements of three different genres (zombie, musical, coming-of-age) and still throw in a curveball that doesn't bring the whole thing down. I think the characters we kill and when we kill them still takes people by surprise, which is nice. It's darker than many musicals and more hopeful than many horrors, as well.
16. Is there any chance for a sequel or spin-off to Anna and the Apocalypse?
Nothing to announce but never say never! We're all very fond of those characters and that story.
17. Last question, if you are to dance to three songs to survive a zombie apocalypse which ones would you choose?
Oh dear. I think my wife would just choose not to survive rather than rely upon my dance skills!
Many thanks to Mr. Alan McDonald for answering my questions. You should definitely check out Anna and the Apocalypse. You won't be disappointed. Anna and the Apocalypse, the unique-take to the zombie/musical genre, is now available on amazon, YouTube, vudu, and google play.
The Mysterious Benedict Society series has found a home in Hulu. The best selling YA novel, written by Trenton Lee steward, will be co-produce by Sonar Entertainment and Disney TV Studios' 20th Century Fox TV. Mr. Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay are writing the screenplay.
Mr. James Bobin is directing the pilot episode while Hay, Tarses, Manfredi, and Karen Sherwood are executive producing the project.
Here is the goodread's synopsis of The Mysterious Benedict Society(book one):
"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" ad attracts dozens for mind-bending tests readers may try. Only two boys and two girls succeed for a secret mission, undercover and underground into hidden tunnels. At the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the only rule is - there are no rules.
Source material: deadline.com
Mr. Shawn Levy/ Dan Cohen(21 Laps) along with Mr. James Wan/ Michael Clear( Atomic Monster) are producing the film adaptation of Ms. Stephanie Perkins's horror novel There's Someone Inside Your House.
Wikipedia's synopsis of There's someone inside your house:
Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life in the small town of Osborne, one year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in rural Nebraska. Though, she befriends a few friends and even flirts with a romantic interest at Osborne High, she is still haunted by the secrets of her past life. Sometime later, the students at her school die in a series of gruesome murders. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets of the past will finally be revealed.
Mr. Patrick Brice ( Creep, The Overnight) will direct the feature. Mr. Henry Gayden(Shazam!) will write the screenplay, while Mr. Judson Scott and Brendan Ferguson will be executive producers.
Sydney Park ( Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists) gets the lead role. Meanwhile here are the individuals on the call sheet: Theodore Pellerin, Dale Whiblery, Jesse LaTourette, Asjha Cooper, Burkely Duffield, and Diego Josef.
As of yet Netflix hasn't announced when production will start.
Source Material: hollywoodreporter.com
Although Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw took the number one spot at the box office. It didn't perform as well as the Fast & Furious franchise should perform. The second spot winner: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, however, is another story. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark performed better than expected with $20.8 million domestically. There isn't any report yet on its oversea's box office, but over all the movie is doing quite well so far. This is definitely excellent news for fans of the books, because this might just mean that there will be a sequel or perhaps trilogy. After all there are three books in the series, so I hope its box office record keeps getting better because there are many more creepy and terrifying stories from this book series to be told on the big screen.
Ms. Katarina Tonks, author of Death is My Best Friend series, will be adapted into a television show by Syfy. Mr. Greg Silverman and Paul Shapiro will executive produce the project along with Wattpad's Aron Levitz and Eric Lehrman. Ms. Lindsey Rosin will write the TV adaptation.
The book series had a lot of reads from Wattpad website. The head of Wattpad Studios, Mr. Aron Levitz, states: "Death is My Eff" demonstrates the possibilities of storytelling on Wattpad, where writers like Katarina can build a global audience and get noticed by Hollywood. This project is a validation of the fans who made "Death is My BFF" a hit on Wattpad, and we're thrilled to work with Stampede and Sony Pictures Television to develop this story for new fans everywhere.
Here's a brief plot about the series: the story focus on a teenage girl who discovers she is part of a prophecy on the day before her birthday. She is to maintain balance between good and evil on earth. Soon, a attractive Grim Reaper comes to her life to capture her soul and take it to the underworld. So, she has to avoid the sexy Reaper while fighting evil spirits that want to create imbalance. With all of this paranormal dilemmas, Faith still have to deal with the daily drama of being a senior in high school.
I have the fortunate chance to interview the author, Ms. Katarina Tonks, in the past about her successful self-published book series. You can check it out by clicking this link: http://novelpro.weebly.com/latest-news/interview-with-ms-katarina-tonks-author-of-death-is-my-bff
source material: deadline.com
The horror novella, written by Mr. Henry James, would be made into a television series by Freeform. The 1898 tale would get a modern twist. The series will be about a Hispanic-American nanny named Elena, who cared for the children of single father at a summer house. Things aren’t what they seemed as Elena started seeing ghosts and her grip on reality.
The novella first appeared in Collier’s Weekly magazine and has continued to be in print ever since. The story has been known to be one of the scariest novels of all time and has numerious adaptation that includes radio drama, stage, film, and television. In fact I reported earlier about a film adaptation being made into feature film: http://novelpro.weebly.com/latest-news/a-novella-is-being-made-into-a-feature-film
Berman and Osprey’s Head of Development and Production Chris King are executive-producing the television adaptation. Ms. Alexandra McNally will pen the pilot script.
Source material: deadline.com
Gabrielle Union along with Amyale and Rebel Maverick has the film right to 500 Words or less, a YA debut novel written by Ms. Juleah Del Rosario. Gabrielle Union is producing the project with Holly Fleischer developing it.
The novel is written in verses and it's about Nic Chen, a Chinese-American high school senior who attempts to salvage her reputation among her Ivy League-obsessed classmates by writing their college admission essays and in the process learns big truths about herself.
Gabrielle Union's quote from Deadline: “I am such a fan of young adult stories in general but this novel really got me. It is beautifully written entirely in verse and the exploration of identity and what that means to you and those around you is something that my production company is focused on exploring with all the stories we choose to tell. This one really hit home and I’m excited to be part of bringing it to life as accurately as we possibly can,”
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