Dustin Lance Black Really Into Disasters After ‘Virginia’ Debacle, Will Write ‘Earthquake’ for J.J.

By  · Published on July 28th, 2012

Dustin Lance Black Really Into Disasters After ‘Virginia’ Debacle, Will Write ‘Earthquake’ for J.J. Abrams and Universal

Hold on to your hats, kids, this is not a remake of the 1974 Charlton Heston-starrer. No need to froth at the mouth just yet. Deadline Hollywood reports that Universal and J.J. Abrams’ long-rumored Earthquake has finally gotten off the ground after being set up back in 2008. That incarnation of the film had David Seltzer set to pen it, but Universal and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions have now hired Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black for the gig.

It’s an interesting job for Black, who is best known for writing both Milk and J. Edgar – perhaps we’re in for a historical earth-shaking flick? Black has, however, been busy as of late with some different projects that also signal his desire to branch out. He adapted Jon Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” for Ron Howard to direct, he penned Barefoot Bandit about real-life criminal Colton Harris-Moore for Fox, and he’s currently working on an adaptation of the Dark Horse graphic novel “3 Story” for his next outing as directing.

And speaking of Black, directing, and disasters…

Black’s last directorial outing, Virginia (previously known as What’s Wrong With Virginia) was a disaster in its own right.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was met with almost universal negativity. A heartbroken Black ultimately hired a new editor to take on the film, Beatrice Sisul, and the pair worked to put together a film that was very different in tone and direction than his original (you can read more about that process in this wonderful interview over at The Playlist). Virginia finally opened in limited release in May, making just over $12,000 in 17 days of release.

Crushing, to be sure, but there is a silver lining to the disaster of Virginia – it helped illuminate Black’s flexibility and willingness to work on his material to make it the best it could be, a rare trait in Hollywood and one that can only serve him well in his next endeavor.