Oscar-nominated director Lee Isaac Chung is in talks to direct Twisters. The extreme-weather disaster film will be a sequel to the 1996 smash hit Twister.
Variety reports that Chung is in early talks to helm the film, after producers winnowed down a list of top directors for the job. As Chung grew up in rural Arkansas, he had first-hand experience with tornadoes and sheltering from their immense destructive power, and that personal connection proved to be the deciding factor in accepting his pitch.
The film will reportedly focus on the daughter of Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton‘s characters from the Jan De Bont-directed original, who has taken up the family business of storm-chasing. Although producers have expressed interest in having Hunt reprise her role, they have yet to reach out to prospective cast members. The original, which was scripted by the late Michael Crichton, was a box-office hit in the summer of 1996, and served as a showcase for the most cutting-edge special effects of the day.
Chung‘s feature debut, Rwandan genocide drama Munyurangabo, debuted at Cannes, and received good notices; he directed two subsequent narrative features, Lucky Life and Abigail Harm, and a documentary, I Have Seen My Last Born, before achieving mainstream success with 2020’s semi-autobiographical Minari. The movie, which starred Steven Yeun as the patriarch of a Korean immigrant family trying to establish a minari farm in rural Arkansas, was a hit with critics and with audiences, grossing over seven times its $2 million budget worldwide and landing on a multitude of year-end best-of lists. It was nominated for a slew of Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Chung, Best Actor for Yeun, and Best Supporting Actress for Youn Yuh-jung, which she won. Following this, he was attached to direct an English-language remake of Your Name, but he departed the project last year.
The script for Twisters, which reportedly greatly impressed Twister producer Steven Spielberg, was written by Mark L. Smith. Frank Marshall will produce for Kennedy/Marshall. Sara Scott and Jacqueline Garell will oversee for Universal Pictures, and Ashley Jay Sandberg will supervise for Kennedy/Marshall. It will be released by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment; Warner Brothers, who released the 1996 original, will co-finance.
Producers hope to begin production of Twisters in the spring. Stay tuned to Collider for future updates.