Travis Knight, the CEO of Laika and director of movies like Kubo and the Two Strings and Paramount’s live-action Bumblebee prequel, is heading to Netflix for his next project. It’s a vampire action-thriller called Uprising, which is based on Raymond Villareal’s book A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising that tracks what happens when a global virus turns people into bloodsucking creatures of the night.
Deadline reports that Knight is attached to direct Uprising, which “is set after a global viral outbreak turns people into vampires and follows CIA agent Lauren Webb, who works against the clock to uncover the truth behind a growing uprising that threatens to wipe out humanity.” It’s based on the book from Raymond Villareal, a practicing attorney in Texas who broke out with this debut novel, a sprawling oral history about the bizarre aftermath of a pandemic (and lest you think this is another book that was rushed to capitalize on the defining topic of the past year, this was first published back in 2018).
That synopsis makes this project sound like a familiar retread of a type of story we’ve seen told many times before, but Villareal’s book actually digs into some compelling aspects of what might actually happen in a scenario like this, including the division that forms in society when the newfound vampire population becomes dominant, what happens when a recently turned vampire runs for political office, and the plot of a secret terrorist organization lurking in the shadows.
This sounds much more satirical than anything we’ve seen Knight direct thus far, and the inclusion of vampires and the freedom that Netflix provides its filmmakers could mean that this ends up being the bloodiest project on his filmography, too. He was the lead animator on Coraline and ParaNorman, but those family-friendly projects might end up feeling tame compared to what he has to work with here.
21 Laps is the production company behind this project, with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen (Arrival, Stranger Things, Free Guy) producing as part of the company’s overall deal with Netflix. Jeremy Slater, who wrote the well-regarded Exorcist TV series from a few years ago and who is overseeing Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight TV adaptation, wrote the latest draft of this script, with Jay Basu (The Girl in the Spider’s Web) and JD Payne and Patrick McKay (Star Trek Beyond, Amazon’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings show) handling previous drafts.
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