Tone has to be one of the more debated about elements of filmmaking. Some demand pure consistency of it, others like it when a film shifts tonal gears within its narrative to change things up and potentially surprise. Certainly flagging franchises can see themselves revitalised with just a simple change of it.
Three filmmakers have recently spoken about the tone of their upcoming franchise films which will see all of them shifting slightly from the pre-established norm of their respective series. First up there’s Shane Black who tells Collider his “The Predator” is going to be a real mix of tones but mostly very much have an old school feel:
“I think the reason there’s a lasting quality that the original movie has that’s due I think, in part to the fact that it was made before it was so easy to just do a bunch of CGI effects and before video games had taken hold as well. So, there was a more visceral kind of war movie thriller-esque quality to the material.
It [The Predator] is ultimately gonna be a thriller. It’s not gonna be a comedy. It’s an R-rated movie and it’s supposed to be a kind of harrowing experience. I think it goes to what Fred and I are very familiar with, which is, if you told me to write a comedy I’d be helpless, but if you say write a thriller and put some jokes in it, then fine. Then, I don’t have to worry… it’s that sort of combination and tone shuffling that becomes at once the juggling act and also the challenge, but the joy too of what we’re trying to do.”
Then there’s Simon Kinberg’s “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” with the director telling Entertainment Tonight this week that this will be a decidedly more grounded entry than the last few films – and that’s despite the inclusion of aliens:
“It’s much more loyal to the original comic than X-Men 3, which told the Dark Phoenix story… It’s a movie that involves extraterrestrial characters, which is not something that we’ve done in the X-Men franchise before and is something that is a huge part of the Dark Phoenix saga in the comics. The tone is- I don’t know if I would say darker but it’s more intense. It’s more real and grounded and hopefully more relatable, a little less operatic than we’ve been in the past.”
Finally there’s “John Wick” director David Leitch who has spoken about “Hobbs & Shaw,” the upcoming spin-off of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Speaking with Collider, Leitch teases the film will be more ‘grounded’ and ‘character-centric’ than the physics-defying farce the main series has become:
“I think it’s going to be a little bit more grounded because it’s the beginning. It’s an origin story, in a sense. It’s not an origin story, but we’re starting a franchise. So we want it to be a little bit more grounded, a little bit more character-centric. We’re going to set up the stakes for these guys and their relationship, but we’re also going to have some great set pieces and some action that you’d expect from that type of franchise.”
“The Predator” opens September 14th, “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” arrives February 14th 2019, “Hobbs & Shaw” hits July 26th 2019.