When 28 Days Later opened in cinemas during 2002, a sequel was inevitable. Five years later, 28 Weeks Later made its bow in cinemas and the same was expected. When could fans expect a third film to round out a phenomenal, modern-day zombie trilogy? Well, the time may be approaching, with Danny Boyle revealing that he has thought about directing 28 Months Later — and a script is in the works.
28 Days Later was a project developed by Danny Boyle, producer Andrew McDonald, and writer Alex Garland. After its sequel in 2007, the creative trio confirmed that 28 Months Later is a possibility, but the film wasn’t high enough on the agenda to push into development. In the event of a third film, Boyle stated that he would only return in an executive producer position — a role he took on Weeks — but has since changed his mind on taking the director’s chair. Speaking to the Playlist, he revealed the following details that might excite fans of the franchise.
“I’ve got no problem [with directing]. It’s the usual thing: it’s not about whether people think it’s a good idea that you’re directing. It’s whether you respond to the script or not. It’s just like on [‘Steve Jobs’]. I got the script and I went, ‘That was amazing. I hope I can add to that somehow and make it be even better than just the experience of reading it.'”
While this means nothing at the moment, it’s clear that Boyle has considered a third film. With an excellent résumé behind him — in recent years, he has directed Slumdog Millionaire, Trance, and 127 Hours — and development under way on Trainspotting 2, Boyle may have a full slate for some time. Don’t rule anything out just yet though.
Back in May, Dread Central caught up with Alex Garland, who revealed that the trio drafted a premise for the third chapter during development of Trainspotting 2.
“About two years ago, Danny started collaborating on the potential to make Trainspotting 2, another sequel. In that conversation, an idea for ’28 Months’ arrived. I had a sort of weird idea that popped into my head.”
Boyle confirmed this by revealing that the outline grew significantly with McDonald’s involvement.
“It’s not quite ready to go, but there’s been a bit of work done on that. It’s in a process at the moment, and I wouldn’t have any inhibition about being involved in it at all. It’s amazing what has happened to the zombie genre since we made [the original 28 Days Later].”
It’s early days yet, but to see the trio actively working on a third movie will be news for fans. 28 Days Later is one of modern cinema’s greatest zombie movies, one that re-invented the genre and ushered in a new breed of zombie, one that would inspire a Dawn of the Dead remake, multiple video games — Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, Dying Light — and the re-emergence of the zombie genre, which introduced the world to the likes of The Walking Dead. With the latter being a huge cultural phenomenon, there’s certainly an audience for a third movie. Can the trio re-invent the genre again? Only time will tell.
28 Days Later was a financial success on its release in 2002. On a meagre budget of $8 million, the film grossed $82.7 million. It launched the career of Cillian Murphy and starred Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson, and Naomie Harris. As well as reinvigorating the zombie genre, it was praised for its realistic camera work, a technique utilized through portable DV cameras, which added to the gloomy, isolated effect of the film.
28 Weeks Later followed in 2007. While not as successful as the original — the film grossed only $64.2 million on a $15 million budget — it was praised for retaining the gritty feel, atmosphere, and scares of its predecessor. It starred Robert Carlyle and Rose Byrne, and also featured Jeremy Renner, Imogen Poots, and Idris Elba in early career roles.
28 Months Later may be a while away yet, but with Boyle and co. working on the premise, we can expect the resurrection of the franchise any day/week/month now. Watch this space.
[Images – Fox Searchlight Pictures and Getty Images/Carlos Alvarez]