EXCLUSIVE: Sony Stage 6 Films has made a deal for Will Merrick and Nick Johnson to make their directorial debuts on the sequel to the hit film Screenlife Research, a sequel that will tell a different story from the original which starred John Cho and Debra Messing. The filmmakers served as the editorial staff for the thriller Hulu directed by Aneesh Chaganty Run, as well as the original 2018 Research, which Chaganty realized.
Hiring keeps the creative team intact, albeit in new capacities. The film is produced by Natalie Qasabian, Chaganty, Search Party’s Sev Ohanian, Adam Sidman and digital cinema guru Timur Bekmambetov, who also produced the first film. Jo Henriquez is executive producer and Congyu E co-produces. Merrick and Johnson write the screenplay, based on a story by Sev Ohanian and Chaganty. The aim is to start production in the spring.
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Research 2The storyline of the plot is still hidden, but it will feature a new set of characters and an evolved Screenlife thriller format where the story takes place on the screens of the characters’ devices. The original played Cho as a father who breaks into his daughter’s computer when she goes missing, in a desperate attempt to find her.
“With such restrictive visual settings, a film like Research 2 requires a new visual style to separate it from the original, ”Chaganty said. “I have contributed what I can to this growing sub-genre. But if there is anyone on the planet who has the potential to go even further, it’s Nick and Will, who were there from the start.
Said Bekmambetov, pioneer of the Screenlife movement that makes low-budget films that replicate the way people see the world through their electronic devices: “Research is the most successful film to date in the Screenlife format and the sequel is about to take a step further. What seemed like an experimental technique a few years ago has gained momentum now with more and more industry professionals turning to this technique of digital filmmaking.
Said Qasabian: “On Research, Will and Nick pioneered a new visual language and pushed the boundaries of what editors could bring to a movie. We’re lucky and excited to be working with them in their new roles as writers and directors on the sequel.
Johnson & Merrick are USC graduates who got their hiatus as editors and “directors of virtual photography” on Research. This film was acquired by Sony at Sundance and released internationally. Critics loved the editing and visual style, and the film grossed $ 75 million worldwide on a budget of under $ 1 million.
Merrick & Johnson are taken over by Peter Sample at Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer.