The controversial horror-thriller finds rich liberals hunting conservatives for sport.

By Clark Collis
March 11, 2020 at 04:53 PM EDT
Patti Perret/Universal

The Hunt

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When asked about the possibility of a sequel to his new film The Hunt (out March 13), screenwriter Damon Lindelof seems genuinely taken aback by the idea.

"Oh my God," Lindelof, who penned screenplay with Nick Cuse, tells EW. "It hadn’t even occurred to me."

Creators can be cagey when discussing the possibility of sequels before the release of a potential franchise's initial film for fear of angering the box office gods. As Lindelof says, "We don’t have the hubris to have had those conversations yet." But in the case of The Hunt, there was a time when it seemed like the Craig Zobel-directed movie might not be released at all, which would certainly have diminished the chances of there being any kind of follow-up.

Starring Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, and Hilary Swank, The Hunt is a contemporary take on the people-hunting-people trope previously explored in 1932's The Most Dangerous Game and 1993's Hard Target, among other films. The twist? Zobel's film depicts a group of conspiracy-theory-obsessed right-wing "deplorables" being hunted and killed by rich liberals.

The film’s planned release last fall was paused following mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, and it was subsequently shelved by Universal and Blumhouse after President Trump tweeted that it was made by the Hollywood “Elite” to “inflame and cause chaos.”

"It was before The Leftovers ending and before we started working on Watchmen," Lindelof told EW of the project's genesis. "We were talking about conspiracy theories, and especially Pizzagate, but just the phenomenon of how it had gone mainstream. One of us threw the gauntlet of like, you literally couldn’t create a conspiracy theory about the other side that you wouldn’t believe through the lens of your political bias, that’s how bad it’s gotten. Then we started throwing ideas at one another to see how ridiculous it could be. I can’t remember which one of us said it first, but it was like, 'Oh, what if it was like The Most Dangerous Game? What if it was hunting human beings for sport?'"

It turns out Lindelof did have some thoughts about a possible sequel.

"I think we learned a lot," he says. "I don’t know what it is we learned yet, but we learned a lot, and it’s always at least worth asking the question, 'Could we do this better?' But it would require a different idea. I think that there is a lot of fodder out there in the world of conspiracy theories that come true, that’s a more interesting creative terrain to me than just do like, ‘Oh, this time around it’s a bigger hunt: The Huntier.’”

If the film does prove successful, it's easy to imagine a sequel being greenlit by Blumhouse, the company behind the Paranormal Activity, Purge, and Insidious franchises.

"That is true," Lindelof says. "Maybe we could pitch a Hunt-Insidious crossover!"

To read more from the April issue of Entertainment Weekly, pick up a copy on newsstands beginning March 17, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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The Hunt

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