So I know my (all too typical) few months have gone by again without a word, but boy oh boy, what a busy few months it’s been. As you can probably guess from the title, my latest projects have been running the gamut. That means it’s time for a MUCH needed update.
But be prepared, this is a big ole update.
Before I start, I want to take a brief moment and say something. I just want to tell you something from the dead center of my heart. This is an update only for those who care — family, friends, colleagues. If you roll your eyes and think this is in any way a “look at me I’m awesome!” type of post, stop reading now and go about your day. This most definitely is not meant for you. Please understand, this business is very very difficult. There are struggles and difficulties beyond ANYTHING you could comprehend. And those of you who know me, and know what I’ve gone through the last few years –personally, professionally, physically, and emotionally– you’ve seen this all too well. So dammit, I’m proud to announce these projects and this news. I couldn’t have gotten here without a ton of help and a ton of support, and I want you to know that I appreciate every one of you who have helped me these past few years.
Okay, enough warm and fuzzies.
Let’s get to this because there is a lot of ground to cover…
First, let’s briefly talk about wrestling.
The WWE has been amazing.
In every way.
I’ve been working with them now on the creative side for about three months and it only gets more exciting and more interesting every single friggin’ week. While you know damn well I can’t really talk about it (NDA’s are scary creatures), I can say it’s insanely fulfilling to see little bits and pieces of my brain show up on TV twice a week. It’s insanely awesome. And I will also say that come July 19th… the entire game changes again. Completely splitting the two brands, with Smackdown going LIVE, thus splitting the talent, splitting the stories, splitting pretty much everything, is going to be a glorious bolt of lightning to the wrestling world. And lucky for me, I’ll be in the dead center of that lightning bolt that entire week of insanity at the WWE home base in Stamford, CT.
Yeah, if you couldn’t tell, I LOVE this gig.
Second, let’s talk hurricanes.
Off the bat let me just say that poster above is in no way a final poster. In fact, I think it was just quickly created to show it off at Cannes. Why does it look like a tornado instead of a hurricane? I honestly dunno. Regardless, this flick is directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious), so you KNOW it’s going to have some insane action sequences. I should know, I had a hand in writing ’em!
As with many bigger budget films, there were many writers and versions of this project before me. The stories regarding my involvement in this feature are lengthy and insane, including a few bits that are truly jaw-dropping. But those stories are all better served discussing over a beer. At the end of the day, I had an absolute BLAST working on this. My producers were amazing. Special shout out to Howard and Karen Baldwin who truly went to bat for me. Rob was absolutely incredible to work with. Our collaboration was so much damn fun, just imagining shit and writing it. The cast is pitch perfect, including Ralph Ineson as the villain!!!!! If you saw The Witch (which is incredible), he was the father of the family. He is so damn cool. I could not be more excited about the entire cast, but he was the icing on the cake for me.
Yes, I know it’s not a horror movie, but action and drama go hand in hand with many of my favorite horror flicks. And trust me, there are still some very disturbing things in this baby. I mean, I had to make sure (at least) one impaling took place. Let’s hope some of my more disturbing bits make final cut.
Regardless, it was a special experience and starts shooting in Bulgaria at the first of August. Barring any insanity it should be released toward the end of 2017. Stay tuned folks!
Here is a handful of some of the news stories when casting recently broke:
DEADLINE – June 22, 2016 – “Rob Cohen’s ‘Category 5’ Adds Maggie Grace, Others To Cast”
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – June 22, 2016 – “Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten to Star in Action Thriller ‘Category 5’”
SCREEN – June 22, 2016 – “Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten, Ralph Ineson join ‘Category 5’”
IMDb – June 22, 2016 – http://www.imdb.com/news/ni59969769/
MOVIES WITH BUTTER – June 22, 2016 – http://www.movieswithbutter.com/Uncategorized/Maggie-Grace-Ryan-Kwanten-Ralph-Ineson-join-Category-5
MY INFORMS – June 22, 2016 – http://myinforms.com/en-gb/a/37224320-maggie-grace-ryan-kwanten-ralph-ineson-join-category-5/
VARIETY – June 22, 2016 – “Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten Join Toby Kebbel’s ‘Category 5’”
NEWS VERGE NETWORK – June 22, 2016 – http://newsvergenetwork.com/maggie-grace-ryan-kwanten-join-toby-kebbels-category-5/
YAHOO – June 22, 2016 – https://www.yahoo.com/movies/maggie-grace-ryan-kwanten-join-toby-kebbel-category-224656382.html
COMING SOON – June 22, 2016 – “Category 5 Movie Adds Maggie Grace and Ryan Kwanten”
HIT FIX – June 22, 2016 – “Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten Join ‘Fast And Furious’ Director’s New Action-Thriller”
Third, let’s talk about ZOMBIES.
Ahh yes, zombies. They are the bread and butter of the horror crowd. Horror without zombies is like romantic schmaltz without Nicholas Sparks. You love them. You hate them. You want them. You NEED them. Regardless, they are here and you need to deal with it.
Last year, a creative powerhouse and good friend of mine, Jeven Dovey, and I decided to venture down an avenue that no one had ever really ventured down before. We decided to make a hybrid horror movie/video game/fitness experience. You know… that old tale.
It shouldn’t really have been too much of a surprise. We both have wives in the fitness industry. We both love and worship horror movies. Jeven and his fitness guru wife Rachel run one of the leading fitness production companies in town. We had Microsoft interested due to Jeven and Rachel’s previous project with them. We figured, what the hell? Let’s try something totally new. It was scary. It was uncharted territory. There were times where we had no idea what was going on. But we did it. And the result are two separate Zombie programs: EVADE and SNEAK.
EVADE is more action packed, where you have to run through and evade a complete zombie onslaught.
SNEAK is more stealth, making you carefully sneak by and around an entire zombie compound.
Both programs are shot in first person perspective, making the viewer a character in the game. There is training to prep you, then you actually get to put your training to work. And yes… you can die.
Now, bear in mind, we had to make this family friendly. Not easy to do when you’re dealing with zombies and death. Thus, there is no actual blood on screen. It’s more of a black ooze. Trust me, we wanted some serious deaths, but in the end it had to be rated E for Everyone (Age 10+).
Here is the cover screenshot for the game that can be found here:
Now, this one is slightly bittersweet. Because this was supposed to be the beginning of a MUCH larger series with Microsoft, but… as some of you may have heard, XBox Fitness in its current incarnation is going to be shutting down the summer of 2017. Whether it is going to be replaced with something different or just canned altogether is unknown. But at least for the next year or so, you’ll be able to be thrown into our (family friendly) zombie apocalypse, and get a good workout in the process.
I have 1000 photos of the experience, and there were so many incredible people who collaborated into making what we did. I want to show you every picture I have and showcase every person, but alas I can’t. Instead, here is a very brief glimpse into our zombie insanity:
Here’s a few behind the scenes looks of Jeven and I working our asses off, yet living a dream.
We even had some of our friends join us. Because honestly, who doesn’t want to be a zombie?
And finally, here are my two girls in their zombie debut.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience that I’ll never forget.
Now go download it, play it and get the word out!
Lastly… I have to briefly mention Stan Lee. And I have to admit that this was a bit of a tease. Don’t hate me. But this is one of those projects that I can’t really talk about yet. But I still just HAD to mention it because I’m working with STAN FREAKIN’ LEE!!!
I’ve sat with him.
I’ve pitched to him.
I’ve brainstormed with him.
I’ve stared face to face with him with only two feet of space between us.
The man is as amazing as you’ve heard.
This has already been a dream come true, and the best part? It’s just beginning…
So stay tuned for more updates on this project because it’s a big one. Trust me. It’s with another REALLY big company. I’m so excited for when this news breaks… Sorry to tease, I really am, but come on. You would too!
Okay… Phew… I think that’s all I have the time and energy for right now. Although, there are other projects I can’t wait to fill you in on, for now, hopefully you know what’s currently been going on at least for the last few months.
Much love, my fellow monster lovers. We’ll catch up later.