Over a decade on, director Francis Lawrence reflects on his on-screen adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novella I Am Legend. The post-apocalyptic horror-thriller starred Will Smith as Robert Neville, a US Army virologist and last remaining survivor of the end of the world. During the film, we follow Neville on his isolated journey and witness harrowing flashbacks documenting the lead up to the decimation of society.
Lawrence admits the reason there was never a sequel to the 2007 science fiction horror was because he didn’t know how to pick up from where the film left off. In a candid podcast with Happy Sad Confused, he stated:
“Warners was really, really really into coming up with something, and I just didn’t know how to do it.”
The director then admitted:
“I saw very quickly after the movie came out, and I went ‘People came to see the last man on earth, he died at the end of the movie, we can’t do it again. But people weren’t in love with him as a character. It’s not Indiana Jones, like this kind of iconic character that you just want to see again and again and again.’
And it just felt forced to do a prequel … and that basically, we would have been doing Contagion. And to do something that’s a follow-up either doesn’t have him in it, or you have to do something really dumb, which is, you know, ‘Scientists have taken his DNA and reanimated him somehow!’ And that would have been really dumb, so I just kind of bowed out.”
Much respect to Lawrence for choosing his integrity over the dollar signs in Hollywoods eyes. What do you think? Could they have facilitated a prequel, or should they let sleeping dogs lie? (Those who have seen I Am Legend will hate me for that reference!)