John Hanlon Reviews


Chronicle Director Josh Trank

By: John Hanlon  |  May 13th, 2012

Chronicle arrived in theaters earlier this year offering a different type of superhero film. Instead of characters wearing spandex or disguising their identities under masks or heavy costumes, illness this unique story focused on a trio of teens whose chance encounter with an extraterrestrial meteor empowered them with psychic abilities.

With Chronicle arriving on DVD next Tuesday, I recently had the chance to speak with director Josh Trank about Chronicle (his first movie), the draw of found-footage films, and the rumors that he would be working on the Fantastic Four reboot.

When asked about his experience helming the film, Trank said the following:

“[It was] the culmination of every emotion I’ve ever felt in my life, heightened up to 5,000 times and then flipped upside down and then back right side-up and then put into a little box…it was inexplicable. It was what I’ve wanted to do my entire life.”

Chronicle became a surprise low-budget hit, earning both critical raves – read our our 4-star review – and over $60 million dollars at the box office. That success has spawned much talk about a potential sequel.

Trank noted that the Chronicle DVD offers a ton of cool extra features, including a test scene they shot in order to get the green light for the movie, adding that “the director’s cut is a more meaty version of what we all saw in the theater.”

When asked about an alternate-ending on the DVD, Trank said,“I’m gonna decide not to answer that question,” noting that “maybe there is [one on there]. Maybe there isn’t.”

Michael B Jordan Dane DeHaan Alex Russell Chronicle

Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan and Alex Russell in 'Chronicle'

The script was written by Max Landis, Trank’s childhood acquaintance. The concept, however, came from Trank, who noted that “it was an idea that I was sort of carrying around in my back pocket for a while.” That idea involved both the style of the film and the concept of friends hiding their ability to use telekinesis from the rest of the world.The director said that he’d “been collecting little scenes in my head over the course of two or three years before I felt like I really saw it…

When asked what superpower he himself would choose, if given the opportunity, he noted the following:

“Telekenis. It’s really simple just cause it’s the ultimate gateway superpower. It’s the superpower that leads to other superpowers like flying and it’s really simple too. As far as other superpowers are concerned, it’s one that you can also keep the most secret from other people because it’s the relationship between your brain and the physical world…”

Chronicle Poster

I also spoke to Trank about the found-footage style that he uses so effectively in Chronicle – and which has become extremely popular in film-making today. He noted that documentary filmmaking around the time of Michael’s Moore’s Bowling for Columbinereally started to spill into the public appetite.” Since then, he adds, “There’s just been this really really really intense appetite for reality-based entertainment.

About his own foray into the format, he added the following:

“I saw an opportunity to be able to blend a couple of different things that I’ve always wanted to approach as a filmmaker. The themes of coming of age stories like Stand By Me or Lucas…and superhero genre films and also horror films like Carrie and films like Akira and to really sort of take all of those different elements and combine them into a reality-based story…”

Trank’s reported connection to the Fantastic Four reboot has been mentioned in numerous articles. I asked the director about such a connection but he was mum on the details:

“I can’t comment on any [of] my personal roles. I can’t comment on any project in development…No comment and just cool things to come.”

For fans wanting to watch his directorial debut, though, Chronicle arrives on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

This piece was originally published on Screen Rant.