Ryuhei Kitamura is the Japanese director behind Versus, Azumi, Godzilla: Final Wars, and more recently English language films The Midnight Meat Train and the excellent No One Lives. He’s just signed on for another English language horror, this time based on the legendary ship The Queen Mary, which is said to be one of the most haunted place in the world.
Variety confirmed the exciting news, stating that the film will begin shooting early next year on board The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. The film will also be shot at Ubiquity studios in Irvine, with Kitamura directing from a script written by Gary Dauberman (Annabelle).
The supernatural horror is called Vessels.
Brett Tomberlin of Ubiquity is producing with Andrew Trapani (“Haunting in Connecticut”) and Brian Gilbert (“Wrong Turn”) of Nine/8 Entertainment and Mali Elfman (“Before I Wake”). Ubiquity’s Chris Carmichael and Connie Jordan are exec producing.
“The Queen Mary has an epic history through both glorious and hard times, and I’m fascinated by all the stories,” Kitamura said. “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.”
The Queen Mary first sailed in 1936 and was the Cunard Line’s flagship until being commissioned as an allied troop transport following the outbreak of World War II. It was nicknamed “The Grey Ghost” for its ability to avoid Nazi U-Boats and Adolf Hitler offered $250,000 to anyone who could sink it.
In 1942, the ocean liner jackknifed her own escort ship but was unable to rescue 239 soldiers in the escort due to the presence of U-Boats. In that same year, a 95-foot wave nearly capsized the Queen Mary while 16,000 soldiers were aboard — which inspired the movie “The Poseidon Adventure,” which was shot on the Queen Mary in 1971.
The Queen Mary made 1,000 ocean crossings before being retired in 1967. The ship is also regarded as one of the most haunted places in the world.
Carmichael told Variety last year that he had wanted to make a movie about the Queen Mary ever since he saw the ship heading for Long Beach in 1967. “I was surfing in Laguna Beach in 1967 when I saw it go by and I was stunned at its enormity,” he added.
“We are excited that Ryuhei will be directing ‘Vessels,’” said Carmichael. “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.”