The Dish: ‘Twisters’ Forecast For Spring Start As Universal, Amblin Finalize Director For Sequel

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment are meeting with directors hoping for a spring start on Twisters, a big-scale sequel to the 1996 storm-chasing blockbuster. Universal and Warner Bros are co-financing, with Universal taking the creative lead on the picture. Frank Marshall is producing.

Here’s what The Dish has heard: Amblin’s Steven Spielberg himself flipped for the script by The Revenant scribe Mark L. Smith, and his enthusiasm provided the impetus for the fast-tracked film. Top Gun: Maverick helmer Joseph Kosinski was going to direct, but he fell off the film when he committed to the Formula One racing movie vehicle for Brad Pitt that Apple acquired last June after a big auction earlier this year.

Warner Bros’ ‘Twister’

They haven’t locked in a new director yet, but among the helmers under consideration are the Oscar-winning Free Solo team of Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vaserhelyi; Dan Trachtenberg. who most recently directed the terrific Predator reinvention Prey and before that 10 Cloverfield Lane; and Travis Knight, the Laika chief whose recent animated films were Missing Link and Kubo and the Two Strings. There might be one or two others in the mix. Jan De Bont directed the original.

Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in 1996’s ‘Twister’

Sources said that the hope is to bring Helen Hunt back, with a drama that focuses on the daughter she had with the character played by the late Bill Paxton. She has caught the storm-chasing bug her parents had.

It’s not surprising they would want to revive Twister. The original film was a huge hit, grossing more than $494 million worldwide, pushing the envelope on visual effects and featuring a cast that included Phil Seymour Hoffman and Todd Field. The original was scripted by the late Michael Crichton. The film also hatched a theme-park attraction for Universal. The topic of climate change and extreme weather is more timely than ever, making the film less escapist fare as it’s too much of a reality.

Universal EVP Production Sara Scott will oversee for the studio, and Ashley Jay Sandberg will oversee for Kennedy/Marshall.

Smith is repped by CAA, Syndicate Entertainment and attorney Mark Temple.

Stay tuned.