I love Francis Lawrence, who has been nothing but candid about his blockbuster I Am Legend, the Will Smith-starring adaptation of Richard Matheson’s same-named novella. He recently reflected back on the 10 year anniversary, noting that it could have been much simpler and done just as well at the box office. In the latest look back, Lawrence reveals that the studio (obviously) wanted a follow-up, but he couldn’t find an entry point that made any sense. Sometimes filmmakers do make films for the art, not the money…
“Warners was really, really, really into coming up with something, and I just didn’t know how to do it,” he told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “I saw very quickly after the movie came out, and I went ‘People came to see the last man on earth. We’ve done the last man on earth, he died at the end of the movie, we can’t do it again.’ But people weren’t in love with him as a character. It’s not Indiana Jones, like this kind of iconic character that you just want to see again and again and again.
“And it just felt forced to do a prequel,” he continued, “and that was basically, we would have been doing Contagion. And to do something that’s a follow-up either doesn’t have him in it, or you have to do something really dumb, which is, you know, ‘Scientists have taken his DNA and reanimated him somehow!’ And that would have been really dumb, and so I just kind of bowed out.”
Kudos to Lawrence for going with integrity over the mighty dollar. What do you all think of I Am Legend a decade later? Do you think there were other ways he could have done a prequel or sequel?