It's not unusual for fan-made trailers for films using either intellectual property or names they have no legal right to to be contacted by lawyers of the actual rights holders. It is unusual, however, that the reason for the contact is because the rights holder actually liked what they saw and wants to turn it into a real movie. In the case of 'Clown,' it went a little something like this:
Step 1. Make a trailer for a non-existent horror movie about a man who turns into a murderous wereclown.
Step 2. Insert title cards faking the legitimacy of the movie, including one that claims 'Clown' was made by 'Hostel' director Eli Roth.
Step 3. ???
Step 4. Profit!
The wildcard that is Step 3 is normally when things fall apart, but for 'Clown' creators Jon Watts and Christopher Ford, it actually ended up netting them a meeting with Eli Roth, Cross Creek Pictures president Brian Oliver and Vertebra Films head Steven Prince. Roth, Oliver and Prince not only liked what they saw, but they clearly liked what they heard and so they've agreed to fully finance and produce a feature length version of 'Clown' for Ford to write and Watts to direct. From the press release:
"I was blown away when I saw that "Clown" trailer. Everyone thought it was real, or that I had at least made a fake trailer. I called the guys right away and their first response was "Thank you for not suing us!" I said "Sue you? Let's make this into a real film!" They are incredibly talented, smart guys ready to make their feature debut."
'Clown' is actually just the first of a pair of projects Roth will be producing for Cross Creek and Vertebra. The second is titled 'Aftershock' and will focus on the devastation caused by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. No, it's not a remake of China's 2010 submission for a Best Foreign Language Oscar, 'Aftershock,' but a story about the quake that struck Chile early this year, claiming some 480 lives.
Chilean filmmaker Nicolás López, whose previous film 'Que Pena Tu Vida' (which translates in English to 'F**k My Life'), will direct the film. Roth had actually been looking into producing a Chilean-set horror movie of some kind, but decided that the story of the earthquake was tragic enough that there was no need to fictionalize any of the terror, and thus 'Aftermath' was born.
Both films are expected to start filming in 2011.