28 Weeks Later and Damsel director provides update on The Sword In The Stone, wants to make Hitchcockian thriller next (exclusive)

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Damsel 28 Weeks Later
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Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo – of 28 Weeks Later and Damsel fame – says that his live-action Sword In The Stone for Disney is on hold, but he’s now developing a romantic thriller in the vein of Hitchcock.

For many, Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is perhaps best known for 28 Weeks Later, the downbeat and singularly terrifying 2007 horror sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. This week, meanwhile, seems him in less disturbing territory with the fantasy adventure Damsel, which places Millie Bobby Brown in a dank lair inhabited by an angry dragon.

Not that it’s Fresnadillo’s only dip into fantastical waters; for several years, he was attached to a live action remake of The Sword In The Stone for Disney. Speaking to Film Stories ahead of Damsel’s release on Netflix later this week, Fresnadillo confirmed that “The project is on hold,” and that he’s unsure whether Disney will choose to resurrect it.

“I don’t know what is going to happen with that,” Fresnadillo tells us. “Because Disney decided to stop it. And it’s a great project. I don’t know, if they’re keen to make it, maybe I will go and make it, because it’s a great story that I think needs to be told in a different way – like Damsel.”

One project Fresnadillo does have in mind, though, involves another shift in genre: he’s currently working on a romantic thriller in the mould of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 classic, Notorious.

“One of the movies pushed me as a filmmaker when I was so young – I was 16 – was Notorious, the Hitchcock movie,” the director says. “And I think from that time, I have a pending debt of making a romantic thriller. So lately I’m thinking about that, to kind of honour who I am as a filmmaker. So maybe I would do a romantic thriller, which is a genre that I never have never done. But I’m so excited and thrilled about making it.”

Fresnadillo added that he’s currently “developing the script” with screenwriter Andres M Koppel, with whom he previously collaborated on his feature debut, Intacto. That fantasy-infused indie gem, released in 2001, was incidentally the film which prompted Danny Boyle to offer 28 Weeks Later to Fresnadillo.

It’s not certain that Fresnadillo will make his Hitchcock-style thriller next – “I’m exploring things,” he says – but it certainly sounds like a project he’s enthusiastic about.

Damsel will stream on Netflix from Friday – 8th March. We’ll bring you our full interview with Mr Fresnadillo before then, in which he talks about designing dragons, conquering phobias, and why he probably won’t make another film as dark as 28 Weeks Later again.

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