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Trailer Blazer: J.J. Abrams' mysterious monster movie

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Jjabrams_lAs Lost fans know, J.J. Abrams’ production house Bad Robot creates mysterious, pseudo-viral marketing campaigns that are nearly as entertaining as the actual products they sell. So it is with Abrams’ hush-hush new movie project, the trailer for which you probably saw before your screening of Transformers last week. The clip (pictured), which showed Blair Witch-style camcorder footage of an apparent monster or alien attack on New York City, ended with a release date (Jan. 18, 2008) but no film title. Now, however, details about the mysterious movie are starting to emerge — along with some possible false leads.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film is called Cloverfield, though that could be just a working title or a red herring (um, it takes place in Manhattan, yes? Where’s the clover? Where’s the field?). Paramount apparently greenlit the modestly-budgeted ($30 million) film back in February when it handed Abrams the keys to the Star Trek franchise. Project was so secret that the actors signed on without being shown the script (written by Lost and Alias scribe Drew Goddard). Helping keep the budget down: they’re all virtual unknowns; biggest name in the cast is probably Lizzy Caplan, late of CBS’ short-lived 2006-07 sitcom The Class. Filming began last month on location, with Matt Reeves (who co-created Felicity with Abrams) directing.

Here’s where the possible disinformation comes in. The trailer began popping up on the Web last week, but Paramount issued cease-and-desist orders to several sites, including ethanhaaswaswrong.com and ethanhaaswasright.com. Now, Abrams, talking to Ain’t It Cool News, says those two sites have nothing to do with the film, but take a look at them; they seem awfully suspicious. (Ethan Haas, by the way, was the character played by Caplan’s co-star Jason Ritter on The Class.) Abrams says there are other secret websites, but he claims no one’s found any of them yet, except for this obvious placeholder.

At any rate, Paramount has put the trailer back online, this time in a high-def version, at Apple. Watch it, tell us what you think (for the record, PopWatch thinks it looks pretty awesome), and let the conspiracy theories begin!