Donnie Darko fans (I'm a big one) have been waiting impatiently for director Richard Kelly's follow-up, Southland Tales, to finally get a release. Don't hold your breath -- it's currently slated on imdb for March 2008! Also not exactly inspiring confidence is the fact that today brings an announcement about Kelly's upcoming project that doesn't even mention Southland! Cameron Diaz is set to star in Kelly's The Box, an adaptation of the Richard Matheson story "Button Button." The script will be written by Kelly. The announcement states that the film will be "a PG-13 horror film," and I'm guessing that the strange mention of the MPAA rating before the film even begins production has a lot to do with the recent uproar over horror violence. The article states that the $20 million opening of the (PG-13) Stephen King adaptation 1408 "made the star-driven high concept supernatural thriller The Box feel like a viable financial proposition.
In the film, Diaz will play "a young woman who is given a mysterious box by a stranger. She's told that certain things will happen depending on which buttons she presses." They might want to work on getting a more exciting description for this one! This all fills me with mixed emotions. I love Donnie Darko, and I want to see Kelly succeed, but Cameron Diaz? I like Diaz in comedies -- I even like her guttural horse laugh. But in dramas -- yikes. The thought of her trying to convincingly convey fear makes me more than a little skeptical. Kelly feels more confident than I do, saying rather robotically, "My hope is to make a film that is incredibly suspenseful and broadly commercial, while still retaining my artistic sensibility. I am especially excited to be working with Cameron Diaz, an actress I have always admired." Production on The Box begins this fall, expect to see Southland Tales ... some time before the end of the world.