If you asked me to make a short list of Hollywood screenwriters who would likely be chosen to write a disaster movie called “Earthquake,” Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar winning screenwriter of “Milk” and the biopic “J. Edgar,” would not have been anywhere near my list. Not because I don’t think he’s capable of it, but rather that I wouldn’t expect him to sign on to what sounds like a surefire action, popcorn disaster flick. Unless it is actually being conceived as a socially conscious film that points out the destruction we’re wreaking on the planet. Nevertheless, according to Deadline, that is exactly what Black will be doing, writin ga disaster movie called “Earthquake” (though I’m hoping it will be retitled “Earthquake!”).
So let’s just say Black is human–maybe he just said, “Damn it, I’m tired of having to make a point! Let’s just knock buildings over!” I wouldn’t blame him at all if that was the case.
The film is being produced by Universal Pictures and J.J. Abrams Bad Robot. It is not, Unversal is careful to note, a remake of their 1974 disaster movie “Earthquake,” starring Charlton Heston. Other than it being about an earthquake (want to see a great earthquake in a movie? I recommend “San Francisco,” where they put together a pretty impressive earthquake for 1936, with no CGI or any other present day movie magic available.
This isn’t the only earthquake movie in progress, though. New Line is working on one with Carlton Cuse of “Lost” fame writing it. So we’ll see if any of them make it to the screen, or if just one makes it, or if none make it. Sometimes these trends self-destruct.