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Brad Bird & Damon Lindelof's Mysterious '1952' Is In The Spirit Of 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 17, 2012 at 10:35AM

Back in May, genre enthusiasts got pretty excited when it emerged that writer Damon Lindelof and director Brad Bird had set up a mysterious project at Disney known only as "1952." The only clues were that it was a sci-fi tentpole and plans were in place to get it in front of cameras in 2013. With the new year approaching, a few more scraps of info about what the project is have emerged, as well as the story behind its title.
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Back in May, genre enthusiasts got pretty excited when it emerged that writer Damon Lindelof and director Brad Bird (who is co-writing) had set up a mysterious project at Disney known only as "1952." The only clues were that it was a sci-fi tentpole and plans were in place to get it in front of cameras in 2013. With the new year approaching, a few more scraps of info about what the project is have emerged, as well as the story behind its title.

According to Vulture, the film is a "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind"-esque project will center on a man in his 40s not unlike Roy Neary. And that's it, but it certainly sounds intriguing. And for those of you willing to play along, an elaborate viral campaign will begin even before the movie gets in front of cameras, with J.J. Abrams-style clues and whatnot. Hooray? It's not our bag, but there will be more than enough people who will be into it, we suppose.

As for that title, the story goes that when Lindelof went to Disney last year to pitch the movie, he was allowed access to some stuff in the archives, including a box from WED Enterprises, Walt Disney's personal development lab (which later became the Imagineering section of the company). Anyway, there was a box labelled "That Darn Cat!" that had been crossed off and written "1952," and inside was a bunch of material for a proposed movie about alien contact. Huh. So are Lindelof and Bird finishing a lost Walt Disney movie? Did Lindelof change his pitch after digging through that box? Is that anecdote just part of a larger myth being built around the movie? Are there gonna be Engineers in this one too?

So many questions --- and some will be answered when Bird and Lindelof do a Q&A at the Hollywood’s StoryWorld conference later today. More details to come, but let's just hope the payoff is worth being strung along. 

This article is related to: 1952, Brad Bird, Damon Lindelof


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