28 Weeks Later, the sequel to the 2003 international smash hit 28 Days Later, is directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto) and produced by Enrique López-Lavigne, Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich. 28 Weeks Later is an original screenplay by Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Enrique López-Lavigne, and Jesus Olmo; with Danny Boyle and Alex Garland serving as executive producers.
Four years after the enormous international success of 28 Days Later, the director / producer / writer team of Danny Boyle, Andrew Macdonald and Alex Garland felt the time was right to make a sequel. “We were quite taken aback by the phenomenal success of the first film, particularly in America,” recalls producer Andrew Macdonald. “We saw an opportunity to make a second film that already had a built in audience. We thought it would be a great idea to try and satisfy that audience again. The hard bit was to try and find a story which would live up to the power and depth that Danny and Alex brought to the first film.”
The first decision the filmmakers had to make was when should the sequel be set. Should the film involve the original cast? Should it go further into the future? Should it be a prequel? 28 Days Later told the story of when the virus was first unleashed following a raid on a primate research facility by animal rights activists. Transmittable in a single drop of blood, the virus locks those infected into a permanent state of murderous rage. Within 28 days the country was overwhelmed and a handful of survivors desperately struggled to salvage a future.
“Alex came up with a lot of ideas and eventually we agreed upon a concept about what would happen to the UK after the disease had been eradicated and the quarantine was lifted,” explains Macdonald. “What would happen if there were only 500 people populating the UK? Who would be there to organize the survivors and refugees coming back from overseas, and what would happen to the Brits who survived? All those questions seemed interesting to us and it was out of them that the story evolved”.
Screenwriter Rowan Joffe, who had previously written Gas Attack and Last Resort, was hired to craft a first draft of the script. The search then began for a talented young director who would have the flare to follow in Boyle’s footsteps as well as be able to bring a fresh new perspective and their own unique vision to the film. “We were looking for a filmmaker of some individuality who could bring something different to the film,” says Boyle. “London was such a big part of the first film we thought that getting somebody from outside the UK to come in and direct would be an interesting approach as they would give the Capital a fresh look.”
Boyle had recently seen the provocative thriller Intacto, the feature film debut from Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo which had been a huge international and critical success. “I thought Intacto was amazing,” recalls Boyle. “A terrific thriller with tremendous flare and energy, as well as being a highly individual piece of filmmaking. I recommended [Producer] Andrew Macdonald and [Executive Producer] Alex Garland go and see it with Juan Carlos in mind for taking the helm on 28 Weeks Later.”
After seeing Intacto Macdonald and Garland were also convinced that Fresnadillo was the director they were looking for, and the filmmakers approached him to direct 28 Weeks Later. They were thrilled when Fresnadillo and his Spanish producing partner Enrique López-Lavigne agreed to come on board.
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Catherine McCormack, Mackintosh Muggleton
Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Screenplay by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Lopez-Lavigne, Rowan Joffe
Release Date: May 11st, 2007
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and gore, language, sexuality / nudity.
Box Office: $28,638,916 (US total)
Studio: Fox Atomic