Producer Jason Blum hopes to make more Purge movies: 'I'm very persuasive'
In the Texas-set The Forever Purge, the annual 12 hours of lawlessness around which the Purge franchise hinges is indefinitely extended by gangs of killers determined to "racially purify" America. As the U.S. falls into chaos, a small group of survivors (played by a mix of American and Mexican actors including Tenoch Huerta, Ana de la Reguera, and Josh Lucas) attempt to flee south of the border. The film was conceived by screenwriter and franchise overlord James DeMonaco during the Trump administration, in reaction to growing tensions around policing the U.S.-Mexico border and was initially set for release last July before being delayed because of the pandemic. But producer Jason Blum is, sadly, convinced that the movie is just as relevant a year later.
"I didn't think the immigration problems were going [to go away]," says the Blumhouse Productions CEO. "I wish they would go away in a year. I was more worried about immigration than the movie. By the way, I wish the movie was irrelevant. I'd much rather that immigration was solved and the movie was irrelevant, but I didn't have high hopes that immigration would be sorted out in the year that the movie was postponed."
Blum talks more about The Forever Purge and the future of the franchise as well as several in-the-works Blumhouse productions, below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What kind of discussions did you have with James DeMonaco while you were developing The Forever Purge?
JASON BLUM: Gosh, we had all kinds of discussions. I guess the biggest obstacle in every Purge movie is, what can we do that's different, that people haven't seen before? I was really happy when James landed on the idea of, the Purge is no longer contained. All rules are off, all bets are off, and America is the Purge. It's not just the Purge for 12 hours a year, it's the Purge forever, and I thought that was a great concept to layer on for our next installment.
As the producer of a franchise, is it interesting to change things up every time?
Managing a franchise as a producer is always really interesting. You want to deliver something that feels enough like the previous movies, so the audience doesn't feel cheated, and you also want to deliver something that feels original. The Purge is unique because it's the only franchise, [or] one of the few franchises anyone's ever done, where each movie has been more successful than the prior movie. With COVID, I don't know if that's going to happen with this one, but until now every one has done better business than the prior one, which is really satisfying because it feels like we've done a good job managing it. But credit really goes to James DeMonaco, who writes and directed the first three of these movies. These movies come out of his mind and he's done a great job of reinventing it but also staying true to it.
It's hard to imagine James thought, when he came up with the idea for the original 2013 movie, that he would still be doing this a decade later.
Yeah. I think it's a blessing and a curse because it's a dark world to live in for that long of a time. Sometimes he's like, oh my god. But the movies keep working better and better, so I won't let him out. But I do think you're right. I think it's a hard place to live creatively for the amount of time he's lived there.
The Forever Purge is directed by Everardo Gout (Luke Cage). How did you come to choose him to make the film?
I always want James to direct these movies but he's taken a break for the last two. We really wanted a Mexican director, because I wanted the movie to feel authentic. If you were from Mexico, I didn't want there to be holes in it. So that was primarily where we were looking, and he and I had met quite some time ago and had discussed something, I don't remember what it was. We reached out to him, he was available, and I thought he did a terrific job with the movie.
When I spoke with James a few years back, he seemed firm this would be the last Purge movie. What's your view about that?
Well, I'm very persuasive. He still is very firm but I'm trying to soften him up a little bit. So we'll see, we'll see, we'll see. I don't know who's going to prevail on that one, but I'm not giving up. I will say this: There's not going to be another Purge movie unless James does it. I don't really want to work with anyone else doing these movies, so if James doesn't do it, there's not going to be another one, but if he does, there will be.
You're currently shooting a new version of Stephen King's Firestarter. How's that going?
We are, we're shooting Firestarter, it's going great. We're about to start this movie called M3GAN, which we're doing with James Wan, my old colleague from the Insidious days, I'm really excited about that. And then coming up, after The Forever Purge, we have Halloween [Kills], which is great and also was put off for a year. I can't wait for people to see it, I'm really proud of it. We've been very busy during COVID.
Last year, I spoke with Leigh Whannell who was writing the Wolfman script. What's the situation with that?
We're still tinkering. It's a tough one to crack but we're still tinkering. I have no updates, but hopefully soon.
What about The Exorcist? (Last December, it was announced that Halloween reboot director David Gordon Green was in talks to develop a sequel to the original Exorcist with Blumhouse.)
No updates there, either, but active development.
Watch the trailer for The Forever Purge above.