John Swetnam

Found footage dance films

In news that sounds as if it was ripped straight out of some kind of Movie Mad Libs, Deadline is reporting that R&B singer John Legend has teamed up with rising screenwriter star John Swetnam to make the world’s first found footage dance film. The film will be titled Breaking Through and is described as “a documentary-style dance drama for the YouTube generation.” In addition to producing the film alongside Legend, Swetnam will also pen the feature and helm it, making it his feature directorial debut. As random as the news may sound, Swetnam’s still-growing resume is actually evidence of his interest in both subgenres – he’s got a pair of found-footage-heavy features in the can (Evidence, which was based on his short of the same name, along with the natural disaster found footage feature Into the Storm, which arrives in August) and a dance film with a beloved pedigree on the way (he wrote the fifth Step Up film, Step Up: All In, which will hit theaters in July). If anyone can make a found footage dance film, Swetnam sure sounds like the right guy, and he’s certainly got the heat on his name to make it happen. Also? It’s high time that found footage expanded out into other subgenres, and this new one (call it found FOOTage and then pretend I never said that) is just the next step in popcorn cinema progression.

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LASERS!

Not content with just one wildly entertaining and highly improbable dance-based franchise, Lionsgate/Summit has picked up a spec script by their Step Up 5 scribe, John Swetnam, that centers on “the world of electronic dance music.” Deadline also reports that Step Up 5 (and, lest we forget, the glorious Step Up Revolution) director Scott Speer will helm the film, titled Spinback. An already-set Speer/Swetnam reunion is surprising, but seems to point to the studio potentially being pleased with SU5, which is wonderful news for anyone into popping, locking, and total insanity. Spinback is touted as a murder mystery that also includes a “returning soldier” storyline. Drama! Deadline reports that the film’s basic idea, which was cooked up by producer Todd Garner, is as such: a “soldier returns from Afghanistan. When his brother, a prominent DJ on the EDM circuit, is murdered, he must infiltrate that world in order to figure out the killer. The project aspires to have a fast-paced niche subculture vibe reminiscent of The Fast and the Furious and XXX.” Sold. Speer is also particuarly dedicated to the film, as he made “a mock trailer for the movie, featuring EDM footage and footage from other movies which cut together established the tone they are after” with Spinback. Anyone in possession of said trailer is encouraged to send it over our way. Everybody dance now.

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Step Up

Because there is not an original idea left in Hollywood and also because Summit’s Step Up franchise has, over seven years and four films, morphed into one of the most dazzlingly insane and entertaining properties to pop and lock across our collective movie screens in decades, we’re getting a fifth Step Up film. I hesitate to use this word, but – duh. Deadline Hollywood reports that the studio has picked rising screenwriter star John Swetnam to write the fifth installment of the franchise, proving that Swetnam’s apparent niche of penning found-footage thrillers doesn’t preclude him from writing a film about teen dancing. O-kay. Swetnam has previously written 2012′s Evidence, a film that no one saw but that apparently centered on a detective using found footage to solve a grisly gas station-set massacre, and the upcoming Black Sky, that found-footage tornado film once known as Category 6. Yes, he should most definitely write a Step Up film now.

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