Did you see the TED Talk with JJ Abrams? You should. In it, he discusses “The Mystery Box” – a figurative tickle trunk of story ideas for film that, if Forbes decided to appraise it, would probably be worth millions of dollars.
“The Mystery Box” is as innovative as it is simple. It’s a brilliant way to engage an audience, build buzz for an upcoming project, and keep plot details a secret. It’s damned difficult to keep secrets in Hollywood so, this tactic is no easy feat. Science fiction and mystery are a perfect marriage, which is why we’ve seen this strategy used for most of JJ Abrams-produced projects.
However, for the “Mystery Box”, the internet is simultaneously its greatest enemy and friendliest asset.
Brad Bird’s upcoming directorial project, written by Damon Lindelof, is called Tomorrowland (formerly known as 1952). As you might have guessed at this point, this film is straight from “The Mystery Box”. Almost all of its plot details are a secret.
This time, the “box” in question may be used quite literally…
Yesterday, HitFix (a known internet rumour buster), published a couple of articles about what Tomorrowland could be about. One of the articles was wildly speculative. It suggested, basing its assumptions on the image Brad Bird tweeted (pictured above, tagged with the identifier “1952″), that Bird was attempting to resurrect the work of Ward Kimball, who’d been commissioned by the military to expose the existence of UFOs and aliens to the public. It’s worth a read.
The latest article exposes the film’s “working” log line, which is being used for the purposes of casting. So far, George Clooney and Hugh Laurie have both been hired as important players in the story. It doesn’t necessarily fit with the previous article’s theory, but they may still somehow be linked.
The log line reads…
“A teenage girl, a genius middle-aged man (who was kicked out of Tomorrowland) and a pre-pubescent girl robot attempt to get to and unravel what happened to Tomorrowland, which exists in an alternative dimension, in order to save Earth.”
The author writes…
The “Tomorrowland” that they keep referring to in this break-down appears to be a place where science has blown past the world we live in, and when Frank Walker was a young man, he first encountered the promise of Tomorrowland at the 1964 World’s Fair. David Nix was there, showing off his own work, and he told Walker to come back when he was older and his inventions actually worked. A girl named Athena saw great promise in 11-year-old Frank, though, and she snuck him into Tomorrowland. Eventually, Frank was discovered by Nix and thrown out, but not before learning that the girl he loved, Athena, was actually a robot. By the time we meet Frank in the film, he’s much older, and George Clooney is set to play the part. Nix is the role that Hugh Laurie is signed for, and by the point the main story of the film kicks in, Nix has been the mayor of Tomorrowland for many years, and he’s become rotten, corrupt. Athena, unchanged since Frank was a young man, plays a key role in the film, and the hero is a girl named Casey who has a quick scientific mind that becomes important as the story unfolds. Nix is a guy who values technical accomplishment over creative thinking, and when he throws Frank out of Tomorrowland, he’s not alone. Every creative thinker is banished, allowing Nix to focus purely on aesthetics and technical advancement for its own sake.
I’m not exactly sure what to make of that description. Frankly, I find it a little confusing. What’s the timeline of Tomorrowland? The author makes it all sound like a parallel universe. What do you think?
Tomorrowland is expected to open everywhere December 19, 2014.