EXCLUSIVE: Director Neil Marshall Talks Burst 3D, The Sword and the Fury and More!
" English writer/director Neil Marshall first made a name for himself on this side of the pond with his critically acclaimed 2006 Horror film, The Descent. He followed that up in 2008 with the now fan-favorite film Doomsday, which was inspired by an assortment of different genre movies including Mad Max, Escape From New York, Excalibur, The Warriors, The Omega Man and Children of Men. Now the writer/director returns with a new film entitled Centurion, which opens on August 27th and stars Michael Fassbender (Jonah Hex, Inglourious Basterds), Dominic West (300), and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace). In addition to the new film, Marshall has a long list of intriguing projects in the works and recently, when we were speaking to him about his latest movie, we had a chance to also ask the accomplished writer/director about five of these long rumored films and just which ones he is working on and which ones are on the back burner for the time being.
First up, we wanted to know about Outpost, a film that Marshall announced he was going to do after The Descent but then put on hold. The premise was originally described as "zombies terrorizing an oil rig" and could become a satirical political film now, given the current real-life situation going on in the Gulf of Mexico. "Outpost isn't happening at all," confessed Marshall. "The thing was with that, when I first came up with the idea nobody was making Zombie movies and now everybody is making Zombie movies," he said. "So I don't really have any interest."
Next, we asked the director about The Eagle's Nest, a World War II set action-adventure film that was first described as a hybrid of Die Hard and The Remains of the Day, which would also act as a tribute to films like Where Eagles Dare and The Eagle Has Landed. "The Eagle's Nest is my absolute dream project," answered Marshall. "That's an ongoing thing. I recently just did a new draft of the script and I'm getting the budget and schedule together. So I'm trying to package everything together to really do it justice," he explained. He finished by describing the tone of the film. "It's a little bit of Where Eagles Dare, Indiana Jones, James Bond and its kind of an espionage story set during WWII but its not really a war movie as such it's a full on action-adventure."
We followed that up by asking Marshall about his long-rumored post-Camelot film, The Sword and the Fury, which would take place thirty-years after the death of King Arthur. "Yeah, that's another ongoing project, which I need to do a re-write of the script on. It's a medieval heist movie," Marshall explained. "It's basically a sequel to the Arthur legend because there are so many characters from the Arthur story that are still alive at the end of the story. Pretty much every society, every culture in the world has some version of the Arthur legend so everybody knows it, certainly in the western world everybody knows King Arthur but nobody knows what happens next. That's the key to it, I want to know what happens next. I want to know what happens to Guinevere and all the survivors," Marshall continued. "So I wondered what that would be like if this tyrant managed to get hold of Excalibur, which at that time is like the equivalent of having a nuclear weapon. It's the sort of power that anyone who owns it is undefeatable. (The film) is about Guinevere and the Grail Knights hiring this band of thieves to steal it back. So I'm going with that one," Marshall concluded.
We continued by grilling the writer/director about Sacrilege, a Western/Horror film set in the time of the Gold Rush that was once described as Unforgiven by way of H.P. Lovecraft and drawing inspiration from John Carpenter's The Thing. "Sacrilege is probably on hold for a while but it is something that I definitely want to do," Marshall confessed. "Obviously, the problem with Westerns is that they're tricky at the best of times so this one is pretty twisted," he explained.
Finally, we asked Marshall to tell us about the status of Burst 3D, a film that he is attached to direct about a group of travelers who are stranded in a blizzard and are being attacked by an entity that makes them spontaneously combust. "Burst 3D I guess is the closest to being made out of all of them," he said. "I'm developing that with Sam Raimi producing it. That's a 3D, people exploding Horror movie. Full on blood and guts, that sort of thing."