Tag Archives: Richard Matheson

Will Smith’s I Am Legend Continues

That’s right, on February 17, Warner Bros. finally closed a deal with the film’s producer Akiva Goldsman and Overbrook Entertainment to do another installment to the 2007 hit film, I Am Legend reports Deadline.

So will this be a prequel? “Oh Hells no!” Why show the raw clash of humanity, people versus people struggling to survive, cutting into each other like so many rose thorns? Why would anyone want to watch the trouble that the Last-Man-on-Earth-to-be has to go through, surviving other idiots and super zombie/vampire proofing his home? That would be like watching an epic version of “The Walking Dead.”

Instead it looks like I Am Legend will turn into a Monty Python sketch. While everyone is bringing out their dead, Will Smith’s portrayal of the last man on Earth, Robert Neville, isn’t done yet. “I’m still alive!” The film will serve as the next installment; sigh… sequel; to I Am Legend.

Arash Amel who wrote the screenplay to Grace of Monaco, has been signed to write for the new I Am Legend movie. Amel will have his work cut out for him, as he’ll have to explain how Smith didn’t die at the end of the last movie. I believe he died giving the super vampires a Falcon Punch using live grenades in a last ditch attempt to save the girl. They were in his hands when the room went boom.

It was reported that there was an alternate ending where Smith survived but it was not used in the final version. Will Smith is expected to reprise the role as Neville, but reportedly is not committing until the script is finished.

That’s not so bad, and I’m happy that Smith is hesitant until seeing a script and prehaps researching online what reactions might be. He might have had to learn this the hard way. Originally it was rumored that Smith was going to play as the main character in a Hollywood version of Oldboy, based on the manga. Fans of the original Park Chan-wook film were probably relieved to to hear that the project has since died. It was reported that DreamWorks and Mandate Films couldn’t reach an agreement getting the rights to the original manga.

As awesome as Oldboy is, it’s violent, envelope-pushing film that was to star a guy who doesn’t know how to be mean on camera. Hancock was the most annoyed I’ve ever seen Smith. To be Oldboy, not only would he have to be vicious and crazy, but he’d have to do some things to his daughter that I don’t think North America audiences are prepared to see. Not publicly that is. So Smith was being attached to that imagery before plans for the movie were even ironed out.

Official description of the film, I Am Legend:

“Robert Neville is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus that was incurable and man-made. Immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and perhaps the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague — The Infected — lurk in the shadows… watching Neville’s every move… waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind’s last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered… and quickly running out of time.”

The 2007 film, I Am Legend was adapted from a book of the same name. Written by Richard Matheson, the horror fiction novel was seminal to the development of the zombie genre that we know and love today. The novel also popularized and the concept of worldwide apocalypse due to disease; yes it’s popular. How many movies of this kind and fear based news have you been exposed to in the last ten years?

The novel which was written in 1954 became a success and was adapted for many films. There was The Last Man on Earth in 1964, The Omega Man in 1971; starring the gun toting Charlton Heston, and as I Am Legend in December 2007. There was also a direct to video production called I Am Omega, released November 2007. The novel was also the inspiration behind the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. It’s like each film bit another film and started this whole chain of events that lead to the zombie apocalypse genre.

I originally thought that I Am Legend was a well funded production and adaptation of I Am Omega. I Am Omega was such a poor budgeted production, laughable in quality and starred the current chairman of the Iron Chef shows, Mark Dacasos. It was fun to watch Dacasos as Neville going stir crazy, living alone, then using martial arts on zombies.

So far none of the film adaptations have remained true to the book. In the book version, it turns out that all the infected are getting over their monstrous tendencies and becoming civilized. As Neville is the only human on Earth, he’s public enemy number one as he’s been slaughtering them all that time. They actually capture him, imprison him and sentence him to be executed. This is where Neville finally realizes that even though the infected appear to be the boogeymen of horror stories, it’s him who’s become their nightmare as the last human. Too bad Hollywood tends to change this ending; it’s as if we’re not allowed to see ourselves as the problem. There can be a lot to learn from endings like this.

The last words spoken by Neville in the book, “Full circle. A new terror born in death. A new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I Am Legend”