Mary Elizabeth Winstead Joins John Goodman in Bad Robot’s ‘The Cellar’

By August 25, 2014

Good news for fans of cool people: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is reportedly in early talks to join John Goodman in The Cellar, a low-budget thriller from Bad Robot and Paramount. J.J. Abrams will produce, and Dan Trachtenberg (Portal: No Escape) will direct.

The plot revolves around a woman who wakes up in an underground cellar after being in a car crash, unsure of whether or not she’s been captured. The man who put her there – a doomsday prepper – tells her he that saved her life but a chemical attack has left the outside world uninhabitable. As tensions mount, the woman decides she isn’t sure if he’s telling the truth and attempts to escape. Winstead will play the woman, while Goodman will presumably play her captor.

I met Trachtenberg once in passing, and he’s a nice guy who’s been working for a long time trying to get a feature off the ground. He’s been attached to a couple of big projects (including the latest attempt to adapt Y: The Last Man, a property that’s been in development for years and years) after his short film Portal: No Escape gained a lot of attention online, but nothing has come through yet. I also had a chance to speak with Winstead briefly at a premiere one time, and she was super gracious and lit up when I mentioned Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a film that performed terribly at the box office but has gone on to become a cult hit. (It’s a brilliant movie, and Winstead was perfectly cast as Ramona Flowers.) And nothing really needs to be said about how awesome John Goodman is: from The Big Lebowski to “Community,” the guy has proven he has insane acting range and a knack for choosing great projects.

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The film was initially called Valencia and written by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, but it’s since been rewritten by Dan Casey and retitled. No word yet on a release date, but we’re looking forward to this one.

The Cellar sounds like exactly the kind of low-budget thriller that the small Paramount Insurge label excels at making, and with J.J. Abrams on board, this has to be a dream come true for Trachtenberg. He’s one of the good guys, a true-blue geek who used to co-host The Totally Rad Show, and we’re wishing him well with this one and look forward to seeing how he handles his trip to the big leagues.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.