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Slender is a 2015 American Psychological Found Footage Horror film written by Shawn Christensen, Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadher and directed by J.J Abrams starring William Moseley, Bella Heathcote, Tyler Hoechlin, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Candice Accola, Naya Rivera, Shay Mitchell and Christoph Waltz.

The film is slated for worldwide theatrical release on August 23rd, 2015 and in IMAX on September 8th, 2015.

The film is based on the cult online game series which has recently converted into a console franchise as well as the stories of the German Bogeyman Der Kinder.

The film's script was finalized and sold to Blumhouse Productions executives Jason Blum & Oren Peli which then signed a contract with Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures in alignment with Dark Castle Entertainment to distribute the film and acquire a significantly large budget.

The script finalization was August 23rd 2011 and went into pre-production the following year in October.

Upon being picked up by Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment in 2013 the film went into filming and then post-production which concluded on February 8th, 2015.

The film was shot primarily in Southern Germany, in locales such as the Black Forest, the small village of Schiltach during the harsh winter of 2014, The Belchen Overview of the Alps, Ortenberg Castle and Offenburg Youth Hostel.

Plot

Charlie Rose Boden departs from Dartmouth with a collective of friends and his girlfriend Maggie Fitzgerald to investigate into the story of Slenderman for a Media film project. With the televised cases of several murders and horrible assaults attributed to the legendary cult character thorough research is done into the seemingly made up characters' origins. They are able to trace the character who has gone by various different aliases throughout time back to his original name, description and story: Der Kinder a German bogeyman of mythology who in actual 16th Germany accounts was behind the abduction of several German children living in the Black Forest surrounded rural village of Oakfield, according to the parents, elder siblings, neighbors and fellow townsfolk a humanoid completely white long armed, faceless monster dressed in a gentleman's attire made its' way into their children's bedroom and stole them away into the woods. Few of the taken children were found and what was found was the horrifically contorted, disfigured and mutilated corpses of some of the taken.

Maggie, Charlie's bestfriend Cooper's roommate Elliot's girlfriend Regina and Maggie's bestfriend Lena Denholm, Elliot's twin sister seem reluctant to investigate into this story but are suaded by the accounts being merely superstitious stories and they have the opportunity with Dartmouth's money and very little money on their part to be abroad in beautiful, Southern Germany.

Upon arrival they settle into the quaint snowed in village of Oakfield and begin documenting their interviews with several townsfolk who are reluctant to shed much light on the story and are very hostile towards the youths.

Stacey Donovan an eager, party girl media classmate of Charlie's who is accompanied by her music video assistant director boyfriend Rhys Pratchett come across a widowed tavern owner Dmitri Van Lorken who tells them the story of Der Kinder and that years ago his great aunt was among the children taken in the beasts' first 

Cast

  • William Moseley as Charlie Rose Boden/ 'C.R.'
  • Bella Heathcote as Maggie Fitzgerald
  • Tyler Hoechlin as Rhys Pratchett
  • Miles Teller as Cooper Marks
  • Michael B. Jordan as Elliot Denholm
  • Candice Accola as Stacey Donovan
  • Naya Rivera as Lena Denholm
  • Shay Mitchell as Regina Samuels
  • Christoph Waltz as Dmitri Van Lorken

Production

Writing

Originally Josh Trank was attached to direct with and Chronicle collaborator/writer Max Landis to write. They had originally conceived the idea of a grandfather with a missing grandson aligned with two teenage youths in backwater Connecticut where they come across the twisted spirits of victimized children and the Slenderman selecting one of the two youths accompanying the pursuing grandfather to claim as its' next victim. The two however eventually dropped because of scheduling conflicts with The Fantastic Four. Next Eric Heisserer and Wesley Strick penned a script changing the grandfather to a widowed mother whose daughter had claimed by the Slenderman whilst on holiday in Germany and with a collective of German expeditionists and a film crew they begin the search for her missing child, only to come across the monster abductor and a collective of monstrous versions of many other child victims claimed by the Slenderman, one particular monster being the mother's now discovered to be deceased missing daughter Catherine. Creative differences and constant rewrites left them to abandon the project finding it too difficult to churn out a satisfying start to finish adaption of the classic game series and the cult mythological bogeyman monster. Victor Salva expressed interest in helming the screenplay/directors' chair for the film however had to abandon due to scheduling conflicts as his third Jeepers Creepers instalment was picked up for a larger budget, do-over, larger known cast and deadline. Takashi Shimizu and Hideo Nakata both expressed interest but working on a script together clashed over the mix-up of ethnic characters, from American characters to German characters and even the proposition of Japanese, Chinese and Korean actors. Cary Fukanaga penned a spec script for the film involving the spirit of a boy coming to a young clairvoyant blonde woman Maggie leading her to Germay and to a German family whose two twin children vanished along with many other youngsters in the small fictional village of Oakfield (deriving from the console game Slender: The Arrival). Fukanaga however dropped in favor of his chance to helm a script and the directors' chair for the IT remake. James Wan and Leigh Whannell then contacted Jason Blum & Oren Peli in hope of collaborating on the project as it was left stuck in stasis however Wan's commitments to Fast 7 and Whannell's to Insidious Chapter 3 as well as The Conjuring 2 forced them to withdraw. Blum & Peli however remain signed on with Blumhouse productions contacting Creepasta for the rights to adapt their character into a large budget, mainstream Hollywood found footage horror film. Blum had initially argued against found footage being utilised as the film's capture method but on Peli's insistence and showing of all of CreepyPasta's Slender series all the way to the chronicles of protagonist C.R. of the console instalment The Arrival it was decided a high budget found footage adaption was the only way to capture it.

Director Abrams came along and agreed to direct after reading the script.

The characters were then written in accordance to each game instalments' unseen first person protagonists, the only named one being C.R. of the console instalment.

They went through the previous character pitches and kept the idea of a German Grandfather character amongst the madness and a young blonde clairvoyant Maggie.

The script was finalized and final drafted on August 23rd, 2011.

Filming

Debates arose as to whether they could afford as intended to film in such locations as the Black Forest in Southern Germany, however with the film's heightened budget on contract with Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment they were able to secure the chance to film the entirety of the 90 minute long film in their desired locations and even picked up several Southern German locations for filming they had not thought of, such as the Belchian Overview and Ortenberg Castle which they came to hear off after securing the contract to film at Offenburg Youth Hostel.

Casting

Casting began with Powers Boothe, who secured the role of Dmitri Van Lorken, however he had to drop the project due to sudden scheduling conflicts, in his place second choice Christoph Waltz was approached although Peli did not expect him to accept the role Blum had confidence he would marvel over the script and appreciate it. Waltz compared it with the likes of Raimi's frightening aspects of The Evil Dead, Derrickson's recent frightfest Sinister, The 1999 found footage picture Blair Wtch and the deteriorating reality and frightening humanoid monsters with Silent Hill. He also noted that the creatures fitting in mythology and particularly German dark fairy lore was fascinating and reminiscent of the only semi explored realm Guillermo Del Toro explored with his 2011 rendition of the 1973 seminal, television movie classic Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark. After not hearing back for almost two weeks and a half Blum and Peli came to the conclusion Waltz was not interested in taking the role he however had his agent called in and asked as to where they'd be shooting in Germany and that he was in. It was also noted in a Comic-Con panel that Waltz expressed his excitement in portraying a villain in the fifth Pirates instalment and shooting in unexplored territory of Germany near his homecountry of Austria for the Slenderman film. Next to be cast were Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan respectively. Jordan's character was originally written as a Caucasian male but was quickly changed after his impressive audition. They auditioned together and both had to sign a contract to film all sequences involving them first as they were contracted for Trank's Fantastic Four reboot featuring Jamie Bell and Kate Mara.

Trank expressed great excitement for Jordan and Teller upon hearing them securing lead roles in the Slenderman film project he had originally been signed onto to direct.

William Moseley auditioned for what would later be Hoechlin's part but was told to read also for the lead protagonist of the youths investigating the Slenderman case. Moseley expressed confusion as to Blum and Peli asking him to read for the lead as he didn't think he was suited for the role of C.R. but his read out secured him the part much to his surprise and Moseley then spent much of his preparing time for his character going over past found footage pictures and studying the personality of the deceased paranormal investigator Ed Warren and Alex Cross from the James Patterson Alex Cross detective series of novels.

Heathcote beat Johanna Brady, Candice Accola, Abigail Breslin and Minka Kelly to the role of Maggie Fitzgerald though Brady was strongly considered for the role as well as Accola who like Heathcote delivered impressive auditions. Accola was called back in for the character of Stacey.

Rivera and Mitchell were last minute additions as a second casting call was issued as last minute changes were added to introduce two other characters to the group of 19 year old to 23 year old youngsters investigating the story.

Publicity

Promotional Posters for the film were released of sets of bloody hands representing the nine main characters and one representing the Slenderman's hand set against a black backdrop of nothing with the hint of hands surfacing from a cracked wall in the dark, below was the small logos and texts representing the three distributing companies: Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment.

Legendary Pictures execs took hold of all visual publicity putting up 11 teaser trailers in total as well as two theatrical. The first nine teasers covering the nine main victims, another titled 'Children' and the last titled 'The Monster.'

The first theatrical trailer covered the main characters and shots of the beautiful snowy alps of Southern Germany before the Black Forest prologue and flashes into the found footage horror unfolding before the slight hinted appearence of the Slenderman in the distance of character Lena Denholm in the dark.

The second delved straight into the horrors of the ghosts of the child victims of the Slenderman as well as the twisted fairies and demons accompanying the Slenderman monster in Oakfield's Black Forest.

Warner Bros. had advertisements for the film done in advance to attract immediate attention on the sides of buses, bus stops and on billboards through various countries' cities and towns.

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