With The Grudge coming to DVD next week, Raimi and Tapert took the time to chat with Now Playing about the film, an adaptation of the Japanese horror hit Ju-on. They also spilled the beans, a bit, about the currently developing sequel to the picture.
“We just came from a big story conference this whole last week,” says Raimi, adding that Takashi Shimizu, the director of both The Grudge and Ju-on, is back. “He came to America, to Los Angeles, and we met with him in a little room on the Columbia Pictures lot and hammered out an outline for the first draft of part two. And he’s planning, I think, on working in the same subtle, elegant way that he made the first film in.”
Tapert adds that the story conference was like a jam session where everyone could throw ideas around.
“Sam and myself sat with the producer Taka [Ichise], the writer Stephen Susco, the director Shimizu-san, our partners from Ghost House Pictures, and probably 10 of us in a room like seven and eight hours a day going over stuff. So it was kind of a creative free for all for all of us,” says Tapert, while also pointing out that The Grudge 2 will stand apart from the other versions, both American and Japanese, of the tale. “The second one is much more of a standalone movie than [the first one] was. In fact, there are very few elements in the second one, at least where it is right now, that are derivative of previous works. [The first one] kind of borrowed from all of the previous movies that have gone before. [And this one is going in a new direction] and that’s one of the reasons that the director is interested. He’s kind of told the story so many times that he didn’t want to go back and revisit what he’s done, and it was only that [he and] the writer had some new ideas that they wanted to explore in terms of The Grudge [that brought them back].”
And will we be seeing the first film’s star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, in the sequel? Tapert and Raimi are staying mum on the subject for now.
“Oh, ho, ha, ha!” Tapert intones. “I can’t tell you right now. It still takes place in Japan, let me put it this way. It still takes place on Earth! It’s set in Tokyo. In some capacity, perhaps she might [return].”
The first film was an oddity in that it was an American production with a largely American cast, but it shot in Japan with a Japanese director and a Japanese crew. At the moment, the plan appears to be to return to Japan for the sequel – “Hai!” Tapert yells when asked about location – although some of the film will probably take place in the U.S. as well.
“I think that it’s going to be partially shot in Japan and maybe partially shot in the United States with the current storyline we’re working on,” says Raimi. “That’s what we think with the current draft. All we have is the one week’s long meeting that we came from of days sitting around a table and right now that’s the story we’ve got. We’ll explore it. I hope it will work.”