THE SHALLOWS, which pits Blake Lively against a marauding great white shark and opened this past Friday, brings director Jaume Collet-Serra back to the horror field where he began his career, with the 2005 version of HOUSE OF WAX. He saw his greatest success in the genre with 2009’s ORPHAN, and while talking up THE SHALLOWS recently, he revealed that plans have long been afoot for a follow-up to that film.
“We have the idea, we just need to figure out the when and the how, you know?” Collet-Serra says. “It’s complicated. We’re waiting to see what the appetite is for it out in the world, before we do something. But we have a very good idea of how to proceed with it, if we find the right support. I would love to do it.”
ORPHAN showcased a breakout performance by young actress Isabelle Fuhrman, playing Esther, a Russian girl who terrorizes her adoptive family and harbors a shocking secret. Should the sequel materialize, would Fuhrman (who will be seen next in the Stephen King adaptation CELL) reprise the role? “Yeah, of course!” Collet-Serra states. “I mean, she is the character.”
Following ORPHAN, Collet-Serra moved into action-thriller territory, helming three features in a row starring Liam Neeson: UNKNOWN (2011), NON-STOP (2014) and last year’s RUN ALL NIGHT. With THE SHALLOWS wrapped up, the director is teaming with Neeson yet again with THE COMMUTER, which is set to roll this summer. “I don’t want to give away much yet,” he says of the project, which was scripted by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi, and seems to be a spiritual cousin to the similarly transportation-themed NON-STOP; instead of a plane, Neeson’s character confronts a criminal conspiracy on a train. “It is a bit of a follow-up, but a completely different character in completely different circumstances. In this one, he’s just a regular guy who has no special abilities; he’s going to his job, and something happens on the train and he has to figure it out.”
Collet-Serra is looking forward to continuing what he says is a highly gratifying collaboration with Neeson. “We see movies the same way,” the director says, “we like the same kinds of stories and we see the potential in the same concepts. At the end of the day, after making three movies, and now doing a fourth, he has become a really good friend, and when you can work with your friends, there’s nothing better. It’s a great feeling, and it’s very satisfying creatively and also personally.”