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Never underestimate the power of French comic books. In less than a decade, two graphic novels published in France — Le Transperceneige and Sandcastle — have given us a pair of incredibly unique genre films: Bong Joon-Ho's Snowpiercer and M. Night Shyamalan's Old. Snowpiercer received a follow-up series on TNT and Old could possibly get the same treatment if there's enough demand for it.
Speaking with SYFY WIRE, Sandcastle writer Pierre Oscar Lévy reveals that he has at least two sequel ideas that would return readers to the time-dilated beach. "I have had a sequel written for a while that takes place 40 years after Sandcastle and a third installment that takes place even further after that," he teases.
Unlike its big-screen adaptation, Sandcastle (illustrated by Frederick Peeters) ends on a more ambiguous note, though Lévy does promise that there is an explanation.
"Everything that happens as an event in Sandcastle has a precise explanation," he says. "If you look at the comic, certain [clues] are there. If I were to ever publish the sequel, upon a re-read, all will become clear. Fred was really happy to give no explanation and he changed two details — if I recall correctly — so the clues were less clear. But other than that, he respected the script to the letter. His desire to not be explicit goes well with his personal taste for mysterious and fantastic stories ... I have an absolute need to understand the world, what is happening, why."
Inspired by a real-life beach Lévy and his parents would visit in Asturias, Spain every year, Sandcastle originally started out as a screenplay "that I wanted to film myself in the '80s," the writer admits. "Which [goes to show] how long, torturous, and romantic its history is — and how happy I am that Fred illustrated it and that M. Night Shyamalan adapted it."
On the subject of Peeters' artwork, he adds: "He told me at the time that he wanted to work on the question of how characters age, and that my story was perfect for that. It was a brand-new challenge for him in the development of his art. He did what he wanted. So well, in fact, that even today, I have the feeling that in writing it, I saw exactly the same things that he drew."
Lévy, who is also a documentarian with a passion for topics relating to climate change and environmental conservation, describes the graphic novel as a "Trojan Horse" concealing a dire warning that it's not too late to come together and save our home.
"That it is urgent to act in order to respect our Mother Earth," he explains. The concept of rapid aging and death is meant to reflect the "present acceleration of biodiversity’s destruction" that stems from our greedy mistreatment of the planet and its natural resources.
"Sandcastle was written to shock and to elicit questions from the reader," he says. "For them to enjoy reading an out-of-the-ordinary story. It is about understanding that we are primates who live on this earth for such a short time and that we are an invasive, destructive, parasitic, reckless species."
Lévy has yet to check out the finished movie and while he notes that "the trailer already shows several added elements" that do not appear in the graphic novel, he is very much excited about the prospect of another creator putting their own unique twist on his ecological parable.
"I feel as though when I direct a film and I have finished it, it no longer belongs to me — for the audience member projects more onto the film. More than I had put in it," he concludes. "I am certain that M. Night Shyamalan, with whom I only spoke pleasantly with on the phone, saw in our work something else that we hadn’t put in, and it seems legitimate to me to give him complete freedom to do what this story — which is a metaphor — inspired him to create."
Old is now playing in theaters everywhere. Since debuting on the big screen last Friday, the movie has made a little over $25 million at the global box office. A special hardcover English edition of Sandcastle is currently available to purchase from Abrams Books. Head to the gallery below to check out five interior pages...
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