2023 marks the 15th anniversary of the found footage monster film Cloverfield, and in a recent interview with Syfy, director Matt Reeves spoke about how the backstory the team developed for the monster.
Reeves — who directed the 2008 film — was asked about whether or not he ever had a backstory for the monster, which has since become affectionately known as “Clover.” According to Reeves, he did, mainly because, in order to direct the film, he wanted to understand what the monster was going through as well. With that in mind, the team behind the film conceived the monster as a baby, going through separation anxiety and being just as afraid as the city it was terrifying.
“For sure we did. Because you have to figure how to direct the monster, so to speak,” explained Reeves. “So you have to understand what’s going on with them emotionally. And for me, the big secret was that the monster was a baby and was experiencing separation anxiety. The reason the monster was freaking out is because they were having fits based on looking for their mother. And so, [the monster] was just as afraid as the main characters, because it seems like there would be nothing more terrifying than the human element fighting this giant monster element and, actually, both of them are just terrified. That’s a mess. That’s not good. So that part of it was absolutely something that we talked about in the development of the creature and in terms of how I shot it.”
Although it’s hard to convey in the film, there are certain scenes in Cloverfield that do show the creature as being a bit frightened and confused. Since its release, other monsters haven’t been explicitly shown off, a creature similar to that of the one in Cloverfield does appear at the very end of 2018’s The Cloverfield Paradox, albeit significantly bigger.
Currently, a new film in the Cloverfield world is in production, with Babak Anvari set to direct a script written by Joe Barton. Nothing is known about the project, but comments from J.J. Abrams (who produced all of the Cloverfield franchise films) in 2018 suggest that this film would be a “true” and “dedicated” sequel to the original. However, it remains to be seen if that’s changed since then, so fans will have to wait.