I guess fake disaster movies just aren't cool enough anymore. I mean, now that our generation has lived through some whoppers (seriously, though, Americans don't even know what a real disaster looks like), we just aren't settling for volcanoes in Los Angeles. And obviously, combining true stories, which audiences love, with cataclysmic destruction presented with stunning special effects, which audiences love even more, puts dollar signs in the eyes of Hollywood studios. It reminds me of Peter Gallagher in The Player pitching a straight-from-the-headlines movie about a horrible mudslide. "Triumph over tragedy," he explains, simply.
So Billy Ray, the writer-director who co-scripted that volcano in Los Angeles movie (Volcano), is currently focusing on true stories of real disasters. First, he tackled 9/11 by writing a script based on the book 102 Minutes, by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn (I'm not sure what the status is on that project). And now he's about to take on Hurricane Katrina for a film he'll write and direct, called Hurricane Season. Based on Franklin Martin's documentary Walking on Dead Fish, the film will follow a Louisiana high school football team in the aftermath of the storm. Universal, the studio involved in the project, must have gold bars in their eyes, since adding a sports element to the true story/disaster combo (though Ray could avoid showing any hurricane action) should attract an even bigger audience.