Though the film’s name “10 Cloverfield Lane” was revealed less than two months ago — even the cast was in the dark during filming — the movie’s unconventional and mysterious marketing campaign brought anticipation to a fever pitch at the film’s premiere in Manhattan on Wednesday evening.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, this follow-up to 2008’s “Cloverfield” (directed by Matt Reeves) is not a sequel, but it does exist in the same universe. Or as producer J.J. Abrams puts it, they’re two different rides at the same amusement park. For one, the first “Cloverfield” film was also produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, and launched in a similarly tight-lipped manner.
Still, Abrams didn’t hesitate to hint at even more mystery to come, which could tie the “Cloverfield” universe together. “There is a bigger plan,” he told Variety. “It’s not just an anthology. There’s something that we’re working on. But it will remain to be seen if we’re given the shot to do it.”
Also in the dark was “10 Cloverfield Lane” star John Goodman, who admitted to knowing little about the original when he came onboard. “I didn’t know anything about it — to my embarrassment,” he said. His thoughts when film’s official name was revealed? “It was a better title than what we had,” Goodman said with a laugh. “So I was happy as hell for it.”
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Another of the film’s three central actors, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (the third is John Gallagher Jr.), talked about the story’s physical demands, including a couple of scenes that she spends crawling through an air vent.
“They built the vent to be just too small for me, so I would really have a struggle my way through it,” Winstead said. The metal shoot stretched horizontally first, and then turned 90 degrees, so she had to crawl straight up. “Every time I was swearing so much, and I had to stop because it’s a PG-13 movie,” she said. Winstead admitted that her experience became a running joke on set. “They were like, ‘Mary, I think you’re going to have to go back in the vent today.’”
Winstead said she was careful to keep her character, who is caught in captivity, from being “some exploitation thing of a girl in peril,” and says that one of her favorite things about Michelle is that she is tough, straight from the get-go. “She doesn’t throw a pity party,” Winstead said. “She’s just instantly putting stuff together, MacGyvering her way out of this thing. And I’ve never really seen a woman quite like that on the screen before.”
Before the screening, Abrams surprised the audience by calling in Amy Schumer to help introduce the film. The comedian, who pretended not to know anything about the film, engaged in a Q&A with the crowd. “Is there a twist ending?” someone asked. “You know ‘The Sixth Sense’?” she responded. “That.”
Following the screening, the after-party moved a few blocks away to the Ribbon, a restaurant and bar on the Upper West Side. Guest sipped on wine and specialty cocktails, and ate from a delicious buffet spread, which included sliders, a kale salad and buffalo cauliflower. As the room started to clear, “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda slipped in to raise a glass with Abrams — the perfect coda to an evening of unexpected surprises.