Huge special effects movies are all well and good, but sometimes, to make an effective film, all you need is two people in a room – particularly when one of those people is John Goodman. That’s the way it is shaping up for Valencia – an upcoming thriller directed by Dan Trachtenberg (BlackBoxTV), for the low-budget specialising Insurge division of Paramount Pictures, and Bad Robot.
This will be Trachtenberg’s feature film directorial debut, and he will be working from a script by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, which was re-worked by Dan Casey. The story sees a teenage girl wake up in a cellar after a car accident. Her only companion in there is a strange caretaker, who explains that there has been a devastating nuclear attack on society, and they have taken shelter. John Goodman will star as the caretaker.
The casting of Goodman in this type of role is at once inspired, and all-too-rare. The actor excels at subverting his well-known, easy-going, loveable persona, and can fill his performance with a subtle and quiet menace, to unnerve the most hardened of audiences. This skill he has can put the entire thing on a knife edge, which is just where a story needs to be when it hinges on whether or not a character is telling the truth, or has more horrific motivations in mind.
The next important step for Valencia will be the casting of the teenage girl that will appear opposite him in this cellar. Though young, she will need to have the talent to face-off with an intimidating Goodman in a confined space for the majority of the running time, while ensuring the audience empathizes with and roots for her. With shooting expected to start later this year, we should hear the casting choice soon. Personally, my money’s on Chloe Grace Moretz.