‘God Particle’ Writer Explains How His Movie Became a ‘Cloverfield’ Film
Making movies sounds frustrating. Say you’re screenwriter Oren Uziel, and you’ve just put the finishing touches on your latest script, an original and cerebral sci-fi project that you’re pretty proud of. You’ve sold it to J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot, and it’s gotten a big fancy distribution deal from Paramount. Everything seems to be going well, but there’s a catch — if this movie's going to get made, it’ll have to be slightly remolded so that it can fit into the Cloverfield extended universe. Why, you may ask? Because moviegoers must be tricked into going to see good movies, and original projects become less scary when they can be clearly tied to another movie the audience already knows they like.
Albeit a bit more diplomatically, Uziel reiterated that much in a new interview with Collider, discussing his upcoming film and how it came into being. When pressed with the core question of when exactly God Particle turned into a Cloverfield-adjacent property, Uziel didn’t have an exact answer, but plenty of insights into how movies get made, and more importantly, sold:
It was written before 10 Cloverfield Lane and the expanded Cloverfield universe even existed as a thing. It was a spec that I wrote probably a year or so after Shimmer Lake, so it definitely existed as its own science-fiction. And then after years of, you know how scripts kind of hang around —people like them, but for whatever reason they decided to make it and then suddenly everything fell into place with J.J. [Abrams], Bad Robot, and Paramount. I don’t know exactly when it became a Cloverfield movie, but I suspect in this current market where it’s just harder and harder to market an original movie of any kind, a science-fiction movie in particular, but I think everyone just knew if it fits— and it does — into that Cloverfield world, it should, and it can only help.
We rewrote during production, but I’m not sure what it means to be part of the expanded Cloverfield universe, other than knowing what kind of quality and feel you’re gonna get from something that’s coming out of Bad Robot and J.J. It just sort of helps to give an understanding of like, ‘Okay I understand what type of movie this is gonna be.’ As far as specifics, I don’t think there is one specific thread that makes it a Cloverfield movie, I guess.
Uziel’s last quote puts a pretty positive spin on this forced franchising:
I think if you can get that off the ground, which they are close, it’s very smart and also great for makers of science-fiction because it relieves you of that burden of like, ‘How are we gonna get people to get off their asses and into the movie theater to see something they’re not sure?’ It’s not a guarantee; the cast is different, we don’t know exactly what we’re getting, but if that stamp of approval of being part of the Cloverfield universe is enough, that’s a huge win. So I’m all for it. When you turn on The Twilight Zone, that’s sort of the way I think about it. I don’t know what this story is going to be, but I know it’s going to be a Twilight Zone story… It’s like an anthology for those kinds of movies, and I think if J.J., if what he’s doing is positioning himself a little bit to be the Rod Serling of J.J.-type science-fiction movies, more power to him.
So there you have it, though ‘it’ does not refer to ‘answers’ so much as ‘a deeper understanding of the nasty business of show.’ And might we remind you that not even God Particle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw knew her film was a Cloverfield movie when she made it (or afterward, when we asked her about it). God Particle hits theaters October 27.