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Beetlejuice 2 to take place in modern day, specifically written for Michael Keaton

on January 14, 2015, 2:25pm

After years in developmental hell, word emerged last month that a sequel to the 1988 horror-comedy classic Beetlejuice was “closer than ever.” Not only had director Tim Burton expressed renewed interest in continuing the tale of the Ghost with the Most, but he claimed that actress Winona Ryder had committed to reprising her role as Lydia Deetz.

Now, screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows) has clued audiences in on what they might expect from the eagerly anticipated film. With Beetlejuice 2 coming some 30 years after the original, Grahame-Smith said the film would thus take place in the modern day. According to the writer, the sequel has been his focus since Burton first approached him some time ago, but he was unwilling to do any reboot that didn’t star Michael Keaton.

Grahame-Smith said the actor helped influence the film’s creative arc in an equally substantial way. As THR explains, the writer took to heart Keaton’s advice of “less is more” regarding the Beetlejuice character, “noting that in the original, Beetlejuice doesn’t appear until almost the midpoint.” The idea then would be to keep audiences enthralled with the character without over-exposing them to his signature brand of gross-out humor.

According to the film’s IMDB page, it may also involve some of Beetlejuice’s extended family, specifically an “older cousin named Beetle Bernie.” The site still lists the screenplay as “in development.”

With Burton and Ryder on board, and a script shaping up, the last loose thread is Keaton. However, he’s expressed interest on several different occasions, most recently in February 2014 when he said that a sequel is the “one thing I’d like to do again, if I ever did anything again. But it kind of required Tim to be involved some way or another.”

Beetlejuice 2 currently has no production timetable. Though given Burton’s ongoing docket, which includes a March 2016 adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, it might be some time before the sequel actually hits theaters.

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