When 10 Cloverfield Lane’s first trailer dropped in January, it was a surprise. Even those of us who follow movies for a living didn’t see it coming. Keeping the project a secret was important to the filmmakers from the very beginning. It turns out that even during the casting process, they didn’t want details of the film leaking out. They went so far as to make sure that potential cast members could only read the script once.

It’s not uncommon for films that are trying to keep their plot points under wraps to take precautions with their script. Often, actors are only given a few pages at a time, and are not allowed to take the pages home. However, the producers of 10 Cloverfield Lane wanted to keep things from leaking even before their actors had committed to the project. Mary Elizabeth Winstead tells The Wrap that Paramount sent her a link to the script which, after she finished reading it, would delete itself, preventing her from even looking at it a second time. She was expected to make her decision to be in the movie after this one look. Her own agents weren’t even allowed to see the script, or know anything about the project. Winstead says that she was interested after her one reading of the script, and following a meeting with producer J.J. Abrams and director Dan Trachtenberg, she came on board.

While the security surrounding the film may have been extra tight at the beginning, it appears like much was left up to the actors themselves during production. John Gallagher Jr. and John Goodman told us during interviews that they never received any specific instructions not to talk about the film, rather, they simply made the decision themselves to not talk about it, knowing that it would be best for the movie that way.
For the most part, 10 Cloverfield Lane successfully remained secret by hiding in plain sight. The project had been given the title Valencia rather than anything that hinted at the Cloverfield brand, but other than that, all the information was out there. We knew what the basic plot was and who would be starring in the film. None of that information turned out to be incorrect. It was simply the additional details that were left out. By keeping the franchise name off of the film, it became just another movie and simply wasn’t the type of project that fans and media tend to ask a lot of questions about, which meant there wasn’t much temptation to talk about it.

Will 10 Cloverfield Lane cause you to look at future movies with a more critical eye? Maybe we shouldn’t take any film’s details at face value.

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