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CLOVERFIELD

Making "Cloverfield"
"We live in a time of great fear. Having a movie that is about something as outlandish as a massive creature attacking your city allows people to process and experience that fear in a way that is incredibly entertaining and incredibly safe. I want to have that experience myself – to go to a movie that's about something larger-than-life and hyper-real, and ‘Cloverfield' certainly is.” – J.J. Abrams, Producer, "Cloverfield” The seed for "Cloverfield” was planted in June 2006 while producer, writer and director J.J. Abrams and his son were on a publicity tour in Japan for Paramount's "Mission: Impossible III.”

The creator of the hit TV series "Felicity,” "Alias” and "Lost,” who made his motion picture directorial debut with "MI: III” and will next direct a "Star Trek” feature, stopped by a local toy store with his son, Henry, and noticed a plethora of Godzilla-themed toys. "It struck me that here was a monster that has endured, culturally, something which we don't have in the States,” he says.

Shortly thereafter, Abrams conceived the idea of making a movie involving a new monster, though he realized it would require a substantially different approach from the original "Godzilla” and its numerous sequels and remakes. "I began thinking, what if you were to see a monster the size of a skyscraper, but through the point of view of someone, relatively speaking, the size of a grain of sand? To see it not from God's eye or a director's or from an omnipotent point of view.”

Abrams contacted frequent collaborator Drew Goddard, the screenwriter with whom he had worked on both "Alias” and "Lost.” "J.J. called me and said, ‘Drew, I've got to talk to you – it's about something huge,'” the writer recalls. "At that point, all he had was the basic framework of a movie about a giant monster, but shot with a handheld camera. I immediately said, ‘I'm in.'”

"Drew was the first person I thought of, because he knows how to combine spectacle, genre and monsters with comedy and humanity,” says Abrams.

Adds producer Bryan Burk, "This was definitely going to be a genre piece, but we really wanted it to be about the people going through this experience, to make it an emotional movie. There was no one that we knew in our world who was more perfect for that than Drew.”

Abrams and Goddard met a week later and hammered out the film's first act in a five-page treatment, which Goddard expanded into a 58-page outline over the Christmas holiday break. The idea of, as Abrams puts it, "a Cameron Crowe movie meets ‘Godzilla' meets ‘Blair Witch Project'” was then pitched to Paramount senior executives Brad Weston and Brad Grey, who were immediately taken with the concept and gave it the green light. "Everybody at the studio said, ‘We get it. Really, can you do this?' and we said, ‘Yes,'” recalls Burk. Adds Goddard, "It was the exact opposite of everything you hear about Hollywood. Everyone was immediately onboard, and it was really this dream experience.”

"I think it is rare for a movie to live up to your expectations,” notes executive producer Sherryl Clark. "I continue to be as excited about it now that it is finished as I was when it was a 5 page treatment.”

As Goddard proceeded to develop the script, the producers began thinking of a choice for director, eventually settling on Matt Reeves. Abrams and Reeves had been friends – and fellow filmmakers - since childhood. They met at age 13 when both entered an 8mm film festival. The two eventually created the hit TV series "Felicity” in 1998, and have remained close collaborators ever since.

Though Reeves might at first have seemed an unusual candidate, since he had no experience in genre projects or with visual effects, Abrams knew he was the right man for the job. "This movie is completely counter to everything I've ever seen Ma

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