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When I first sat down with writer/director Christopher Landon in October 2017 during the domestic press day for Happy Death Day, one thing he revealed was that he had specific plans for a sequel. While the film never explicitly explained what was causing the time loops, Landon himself knew the answer, and at the time was hoping for the opportunity to share his vision with the world.
As excited as Christopher Landon was about his plans for what would end up being Happy Death Day 2U, however, there were two specific people he didn’t immediately tell about them: stars Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard. Instead, the two were kept totally in the dark about the sequel plans until just before the release of the first movie, as I recently learned from the duo at the recent Los Angeles press junket for Happy Death Day 2U. Discussing when they first learned about Landon’s plan, the said,
Jessica Rothe: About a month before the first movie came out. Because when we made the original movie...
Israel Broussard: There was some discussion of like, 'What would you do if there was a sequel?'
Jessica Rothe: 'If there was a sequel.' But I died originally in the first film! And you can see it on the extras on the DVD, that scene. But we reshot it, and so it was kind of a wonderful surprise. And he gave the general outline of what happens in the film and explained that we kind of figure out some of the things that weren't explained in the first movie.
The original ending of Happy Death Day was another thing I discussed with Christopher Landon in 2017, as what’s featured in the theatrical cut of the film was a result of test audiences absolutely hating what was originally planned. As Jessica Rothe explained, the movie was originally going to have Tree die, but those who saw an early cut rejected this direction since she had grown so much as a character through the looping experience.
Reshoots were scheduled, and a new ending was created that gave Landon the opportunity to segue into an idea he had for a sequel. One side effect of this, however, was that he didn’t tell Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard about his idea until Happy Death Day was just about ready to be released.
Going too far into the plot of Happy Death Day 2U would be providing details that are better experienced on the big screen, but it can be said that there definitely is an explanation offered for how everything in the first movie went down. Unfortunately for Tree, the experience winds up seeing her once again trapped in the same Monday as the first movie, albeit with some very important differences. This time around it’s less Groundhog Day and more Back To The Future, but in its own genre-bending way it definitely works.
This was an opinion most definitely shared by Jessica Rothe, who described her reaction to first hearing Christopher Landon’s idea for Happy Death Day 2U. It was a lot to take in for the actress, but what was most important above everything else was her trust in the writer/director to properly execute it. Said Rothe,
At the end of the conversation I was like, 'Chris, this is completely insane, but you're a mad genius and if anyone can pull it off, it's you.' And I think he did.
You can watch Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard discuss their first exposure to the madness-filled plot of Happy Death Day 2U by clicking play on the video below.
The only question now is if Christopher Landon has told Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard about his plans for Happy Death Day 3.
Co-starring Phi Vu, Rachel Matthews, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Suraj Sharma, Sarah Yarkin, and Steve Zissis, Happy Death Day 2U is arriving in theaters before the weekend – arriving for your viewing pleasure on Wednesday February 13th. We’ll have plenty more for you from my interviews with the stars, Christopher Landon, and producer Jason Blum, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend.