A man with a rotting face gives a couple a box that has the ability to gift them a million dollars, but it also kills somebody somewhere in the world. If that sounds like the perfect premise for the director of “Donnie Darko,” that’s because it is.
Richard Kelly says he long ago fell in love with the Richard Matheson story that his latest movie is based on.
“‘The Box’ was a story that I was lucky enough to stumble upon as a child,” Kelly says. “I think I was 10 or 11 years old when I first read it, and then I was able to get the movie rights years later. I always considered it a fascinating, thought-provoking and suspenseful premise that I thought could be an interesting challenge to expand into a feature.”
Though obviously a story that fits into Kelly’s unique and dark style of filmmaking, it’s also a far simpler tale than his previous movies. According to Kelly, “The Box” represented a deliberate attempt to scale back his ambitions.
“I wanted to try something much smaller and more manageable,” reveals Kelly. “It was kind of refreshing for me to be able to focus on a more intimate story about a married couple and also to try and embrace the aesthetic of 1970s filmmaking.”
Kelly decided to set his story in the 1970s world of his childhood, even basing the main characters on his parents.
“It was a way to make the story emotionally relevant to me and to pay tribute to them and their experiences,” admits Kelly. “Plus, this is the kind of movie they would love.”