The Twilight Zone has become an ever-evolving part of our popular culture, and it looks like that could culminate in a pretty unexpected new film. According to a new listing from Production Weekly, horror director Richard Kelly will write and direct a biopic, based on the life of The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling.
Kelly is known for helming Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, and Visceral Matter. He hasn't released a film since 2009's The Box, which was based on the short story (and eventual Twilight Zone episode) "Button, Button". The biopic is in the works at Mandalay Pictures, with Jason Michael Berman and Kevin Turen serving as producers.
While it's unknown exactly what corners of Serling's life could make their way into the biopic, there's certainly a lot of ground that the film could potentially cover. After serving in the Army in World War II, Serling began to write, direct, and act in radio shows for his college campus' radio station, while testing parachutes for the Air Force part-time. As the years went on, Serling became more prolific in the world of radio and television, and frequently squared off against corporate sponsors who wanted to censor controversial content. Serling's advocacy for censorship, racial equality, and Antiwar activism earned him the nickname "angry young man" in Hollywood.
This all culminated in the premiere of The Twilight Zone, which Serling frequently fought to maintain creative control of. After the show ran for five seasons, Serling went on to create the fantasy-horror anthology series Night Gallery, continue to contribute to radio, and even teach college classes. Serling ultimately died in 1975 due to complications from a heart attack.
While Serling only lived to the age of 50, it's hard to deny that his impact is profound, something that could be felt in CBS All Access' most recent Twilight Zone reboot.
“I was terrified,” the reboot's narrator and executive producer, Jordan Peele shared before the series began. “Why would I ever jump into the most established, pristine shoes in all of the genre? I could rip Twilight Zone off and call it something different and not be compared to Rod Serling. So I stepped away from it. And then several months later I got another call.”
“The realization, for me, was that it was an opportunity to attempt to continue with Serling’s mission,” Peele continued. “If we approach it without ego and sort of bow to Serling, that will hopefully suffice for our fellow Twilight Zone fans but also bring back a show that I think is needed right now. Because it’s a show that has always helped us look at ourselves, hold a mirror up to society.”
What do you think of Rod Serling potentially getting his own biopic? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!