A young man and woman, strangers, wake up in bed next to each other with no memory of the previous night. Hardly an original premise but it's given an extraterrestrial twist in Spanish writer-director Nacho Vigalondo's latest film, Extraterrestre.
Now shooting in Madrid and in the director's native Cantabria, the action takes place during an alien invasion. It's his follow-up to Timecrimes, a terrific thriller about a man who inadvertently is transported back in time by one hour, for which Vigalondo won the best new artist gong at the 2009 Spanish Cinema Writers Circle Awards.
Budgeted at less than €1million, Extraterrestre features Julián Villagrán and Michelle Jenner as the couple caught up in the invasion. In the English translation of his blog, he refers to the film as Alien. He might like to change the title to avoid confusion with James Cameron's sci-fi epic. In the blog, he says his film will be nothing like Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, which looked at a large-scale alien invasion through the eyes of an ordinary man.
He writes, rather obliquely, “It is clear that most human beings would live a global alien invasion without complete shit, listening to unfounded rumours, baseless speculating and occupying their time in useless activities and ridídulas.”
Tom Cruise's production company United Artists bought the English-language remake rights to Timecrimes, to be produced by Steve Zaillian, but that project is in limbo due to uncertainty over MGM's future.
Vigalondo is attached to direct Gangland, a Zaillian-produced action-comedy about videogame developers who set out to create the most realistic game ever.
Zaillian's Film Rites, which has a first-look deal with Sony Pictures, will produce with Mandate Pictures, which will handle foreign sales. He's also developing an as yet untitled Spanish-language feature with Enrique López Lavigne and Belén Atienza's Apaches Entertainment.
The 33-year-old Cantabrian director's 7:35 in the Morning was nominated for the Best Short Film Oscar in 2003. The European cinema portal Cineuropa hailed him as “one of the most iconoclastic new voices in Spanish cinema, with work that combines science fiction, comedy, references to classic film and a directorial approach that doesn't turn its back on audiences.”