First Look: Richard Kelly's The Box

February 17, 2008
Source: Twitch

Richard Matheson's Button, ButtonWe're not trying to fool you - this is actually a photo of just the box from The Box. Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly is currently out filming his third film, The Box, which follows Southland Tales, his second effort that was quickly forgotten. This one stars James Marsden and Cameron Diaz as the lead married couple and Frank Langella as the mysterious man who delivers the box. Quite an impressive cast so far, and that's not all that looks good about this. The inspiration for this is the classic story as told by author Richard Matheson in his 1970 short story "Button, Button". Considering this is our very first look at anything from the highly anticipated movie, it's definitely worth checking out.

We're all familiar with the classic story about a box being delivered to a couple who, if they choose to press the button (or be granted a wish, I think, too), receive something great in their lives, whether it be money or happiness. But while doing so they kill someone or something bad happens to someone else. It's a morality tale as well as just a great story. I think it was mandatory reading back in elementary school, which is where I remember first hearing of it. And with that premise for the movie, here is the box that is delivered in Kelly's version.

Richard Kelly's The Box

Based on the short story by Richard Matheson, "The Box" stars Cameron Diaz as Norma Lewis and James Marsden as Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child who receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger, played by Frank Langella, delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world…someone they don't know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the crosshairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.

When you read that synopsis that I posted above for this version of the classic tale, you start to understand why Kelly is perfect for this. If you think about what he did in Donnie Darko and apply the same sort of tone and storytelling to this, then consider the twists and madness that could ensue, you might understand what I'm saying.

This is actually another movie that I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product. Although Richard Kelly's second effort, Southland Tales, was pretty awful, I'm expecting a lot more from The Box. I think it has a much more solid (and mainstream) plot from the start, and although it seems like a diversion from what Kelly might typically do, it is still the kind of film that I think will allow him to show us what he is really capable of as a filmmaker. If you want to pick up a copy of Richard Matheson's short story "Button, Button", which this is based off of, you can get it for quite cheap on as well.

The Box is being distributed by Warner Brothers and does not have a release date set but is expected to be out later in 2008.

Find more posts: First Look, Hype, Opinions



It sounds good and is promising but I don't think Kelly will do anything particularly mainstream and if he doesn't then this will end up horrible.

Ryan on Feb 17, 2008


Looks good, wish he would have filmed the movie down here, I heard he was torn on it. At least it takes place in Richmond.

Stephen on Feb 17, 2008


#2 - They shot for one week at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. In this video you can see *some* behind-the-scenes footage at the LARC... (:47-to-1:20)

TheGuyInThePj's on Feb 17, 2008


And how does she know that her pressing the button caused this particular shooting? Any number of people who died at that particular moment may have been the result of her pushing the button. Just curious...

Movie Lover on Feb 18, 2008


I think that's part of the story... If I would have read "Button, Button" I might have been able to say something, but I won't say that I have... I think it has to do something with the creepy guy who delivers the box... Or, maybe I'm taking this too far, but what if she thinks about it the first time, then her husband convinces her they're disconnected, so they end up pressing the button again, and again, and again, and again... And suddenly there are lots of dead people around and at that point it's almost obvious what happened... See this is why I love where you could go with this story! 😉

Alex Billington on Feb 18, 2008


I was actually casted as an extra here in VA for The Box. It was a whole lotta fun! My fingers are crossed.

Courtney on May 11, 2008


First off, I really appreciated and enjoyed Southland tales. I hope that Richard Kelly really shines through on this peice too. Going "mainstream" instead of sticking to his guns will make this movie not worth it.

Fred on Jun 3, 2009

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