Spielberg asks first-time feature director to ‘Come Play’


MYSTERY WIRE (AP) — To make a short story long, first-time feature director Jacob Chase got a hand from Steven Spielberg.

Not all that long after Chase’s five-minute “Larry — A Short Horror Film” debuted on the streaming site Vimeo in late 2017, it caught the attention of a handful major Hollywood production companies.

“You know, I’m still pinching myself,” recalled Chase, who is no filmmaking newcomer, with credits including work for The Jim Henson Company, and having directed at least 10 shorts dating as far back as 2004.

Among suitors in the running to produce a feature-length version of “Larry” was Amblin Entertainment, which was co-founded by director and producer Steven Spielberg in 1981. Amblin’s credits include “Poltergeist,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Gremlins,” “Back to the Future,” “Men in Black,” “Jurassic Park” and the upcoming new adaptation of “West Side Story.”

“I went with Amblin because, I mean, you know, Amblin really made all of my favorite films growing up,” Chase noted. “Steven Spielberg movies are why I want to be a filmmaker in the first place.”

In the original short, a lonely parking-lot attendant reads the story of Larry on a tablet, and senses the ghoul is approaching — only to come face-to-face with him in the heart-stopping last scene.

The feature opens the story up, with Larry playing with — put actually preying on — an autistic boy whose parents (portrayed by Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr.) are on the brink of divorce.

Now, the story has been transformed into one right out of the Amblin playbook.

Think “Poltergeist.”

Observed Gallagher, “It’s a family in peril that suddenly comes up against a kind of supernatural entity that they have to deal with in addition to dealing with their own family dynamic.”

“Come Play” debuts in the United States 30 October 2020.

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