Richard Kelly has finally moved on from the somewhat disastrous Southland Tales chapter in his career by launching a new movie, The Box, a PG-13 horror film based on a Richard Matheson short story that became a Twilight Zone episode.
Kelly has written the screenplay. (An earlier report mentioned his having co-written it with Eli Roth). The $30 million flick, bankrolled by Media Rights Capital, will start shooting in the fall. Cameron Diaz will star as a thirty-ish wife with a greedy, opportunistic streak. (No word on the guy playing her husband.)
A site called Upcoming Horror Movies, linking to an early May report on Sci Fi Wire, quotes Kelly about the origins and plot particulars: The Box “is about a mysterious box that arrives on a young couple’s doorstep,” he says.. “There’s a button on the box that presents them with an offer that says they will receive a great financial reward if they push the button, but someone they know will die. Madness ensues, and that’s what the rest of the story’s about.”
“It’s kind of a cult story that Matheson wrote long ago that was later formed into a Twilight Zone episode that I’d fallen in love with as a kid. Once I arrived in the business and had the opportunity to option the material, I thought it would be a great film, and Eli [Roth] and I found a lead into the material. It should be a good movie. We’ll see.”
I can’t figure which Twilight Zone episode Kelly is referring to. Here‘s a list of the episodes written by Matheson, and I don’t see anything that seems to fit the description. It may be based on a segment in the mid ’80s Twilight Zone revival series called “Button, Button.”
A synopsis that may or may not be reliable: “A down-on-their luck couple is given a box with a button on it, and told if they push it they’ll recieve $200,000, but also that pushing the button will kill someone they don’t know. The wife finally pushes it against her husband’s will. The guy who delivers the box in the first place shows up with the money and to also retrieve the box to reset it. To the couple’s surprise the guy assures them that the button will be reset and given to someone they don’t know.”