Images courtesy of The Queen Mary.
After three years of discussions with an Irvine-based production company, The Queen Mary has announced that the feature horror film VESSELS, inspired by the history and supposed haunting of the ship, has hired a director and will begin filming in early 2016.
Ryuhei Kitamura has been tapped to direct the film, which will shoot on location at The Queen Mary and Irvine-based Ubiquity Studios.
“Vessels will be the first-ever feature film about The Queen Mary and will be theatrically released nation-wide, so it will being a great deal of exposure and notoriety to The Queen Mary and to Long Beach as a whole,” The Queen Mary’s Director of Entertainment and Events Steve Sheldon told the Post.
“The Queen Mary has an epic history through both glorious and hard times, and I’m fascinated by all the stories,” said Kitamura in a statement. “I’m determined to create a visually stunning, really scary modern day ghost story that takes place on this graceful vessel, and it’s a great honor to be able to shoot on the real Queen Mary.”
A release issued Wednesday stated that Gary Dauberman is writing the screenplay. Past credits for him include writing the screenplay of 2014’s horror film Annabelle. The producers of the project also have a history of horror film production under their belt. Ubiquity Studios’ Brett Tomberlin and Andrew Tapani developed The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), Brian Gilbert produced Wrong Turn (2003), and Mali Elfman produced Before I Wake (2015).
Chris Carmichael and Connie Jordan are executive producers, according to the release.
“We are excited that Ryuhei will be directing ‘Vessels,’" said Carmichael in a statement. “He is enormously talented and experienced, and his passion and excitement for the Queen Mary will surely bring to life the foreboding world of this haunted ship.”
The Queen Mary, has a colorful history, especially regarding its use as an Allied troop transport in 1936. It was nicknamed “The Grey Ghost,” and Hitler once offered $250,000 and the Grand Iron Cross to anyone who could sink the ship.
Notably, the ship experienced tragedy in 1942 when it was forced to separate itself from its escort ship, leaving 239 soldiers to die in the freezing waters of the Atlantic while the German U-Boats hunted the ship down. A 90-foot wave also hit The Queen Mary that year while 16,000 soldiers were aboard, inspiring the original film The Poseidon Adventure, which was shot on The Queen Mary in 1971.
The Queen Mary was named one of Time Magazine’s top 10 “Most Haunted Places in the World" in 2008.