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The Five Nights At Freddy’s movie will be directed by Emma Tammi. However, since its announcement back in 2017, the Five Nights At Freddy’s movie has been in a constant state of change and disarray, going through several directors before settling on Emma Tammi.
Though Blumhouse announced their final director nearly a year ago, the movie has had three separate directors over its lifetime spent in development, and today, I want to take a look at these different directors, how they’ve shaped the past, present, and future of the movie, and what each version of the story might look like.
The Struggle for a Director
According to Deadline, a little while after the FNAF movie was first announced, Gil Kenan was approached to direct. Kenan previously directed the 2006 cult classic Monster House, City of Ember, the Poltergeist remake, and most recently produced and wrote the sequel GhostBusters: Afterlife.
No matter which script it would’ve followed, in my head, I can see a film with strengths in almost every category; something horrifying, but also comedic, and heartfelt. Gil Kenan’s version of the FNAF movie would have undoubtedly been a good one, reminiscent of the games while building on the story and still showing respect for the source material.
A tweet from Kenan revealed a look at a possible prototype for an endo skeleton animatronic, almost exactly like the one in the games and similar to the glimpses of animatronics we’ve seen in the teaser for the final movie.
This Endo was later found to be an old piece of work from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, which had not been announced to be working on the film at the time but would later join under Blumhouse.
Kenan also shared many vintage and dated photos that were used as inspiration for the aesthetic and presentation of the movie, leading to speculation that this version of the movie would have focused at least slightly on the early days of Fazbear Entertainment, back when William Afton was first establishing Fredbear’s Family Diner and even before then.
It’s been rumored since that after losing the rights to the FNAF movie, Warner Bros took the storyline they had developed and converted it into a movie based on the old characters of the Banana Splits, and while there has been no official confirmation of this, the aesthetic and feel of that movie does seem very similar to what a FNAF movie written around that time would be like.
In 2017, Scott Cawthon announced that the production was essentially back to square one after several setbacks, and later that year, it was revealed that he had left Warner Bros due to creative differences and Blumhouse would be producing it instead.
Without a director and barely any work on the movie able to be done, it was time to search for another filmmaker to steer the project.
Blumhouse’s First Pick
Though production was still rocky, Scott found a far greater deal of creative freedom and time to work on the movie at Blumhouse. Jason Blum and his associates were working closely with Scott, allowing him to focus on portraying his vision of the movie.
Whereas Warner Bros had a very specific version they wanted to portray, the producers at Blumhouse were happy to let Scott develop his ideas and make the best film possible.
In February of 2018, the production studio announced via Twitter that Chris Columbus, director of many famous movies such as Home Alone and the Harry Potter series, would be the new director for the FNAF movie. In November of that same year, Scott updated his upcoming projects mega thread on Steam, saying this:
“OK guys, I had a script written; Jason liked it, but I tossed it. I had a different idea for it, one that I liked better. I take responsibility for this delay; it’s my fault. It’s been a real challenge for everyone, including myself, to come up with a good screenplay for this. But I’m determined to find the right story.”
In the thread, he detailed many projects being worked on in the FNAF franchise, quite a few of which we’ve seen the release of since, but he also stressed that he wanted to continue working on the movie until he felt it was the right one- regardless of how many delays and restarts that might require.
Most important was the detail that there was a completely finished script- one that both Jason Blum and Chris Columbus were happy with, but Scott decided to scrap it for another try.
In 2020, Blum announced the movie was still actively being worked on, and again later that year, Scott said the movie would begin filming in the Spring of the following year.
Sadly, that didn’t happen, and the film was scrapped once again, with it being announced in September of 2021 that Columbus was no longer attached to the project. Nevertheless, the scraps of available information make Columbus’s version seem very interesting.
Columbus is also credited as directing the live-action adaptation of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, which has been in production for a good few years now, so he could have left due to a scheduling conflict with that project; however, he hasn’t said anything publicly, so it’s hard to know for certain what the reason was.
The Movie’s Final Director
In October of 2022, Jason Blum announced in a Tweet that Jim Henson’s Creature Shop would be making animatronics, Emma Tammi would be directing, and the movie would start filming in February of 2022.
This announcement was an absolute bombshell and came after a few hours of cryptic tweets that urged people to check Twitter later.
Emma Tammi is a bit of a less predictable director compared to Gil Kenan and Chris Columbus. While they both have more vast and distinct portfolios (Kenan’s is far smaller than Columbus’s, but remains fairly consistent), Tammi’s is much smaller and far more varied.
Her credits include Election Day: Lens Across America, a documentary about the leadup to the 2016 election, Fair Chase, a documentary about top distance runners testing an evolution theory; Into the Dark, a horror series based around different holidays; and The Wind, a horror-thriller western about a woman driven mad by the untamed plains of the 1800s West.
Though Tammi’s portfolio is very diverse and less predictable than her past counterparts, her work shows a passion for horror, and that passion is absolutely essential to making a movie like Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Tammi is also a far less established director, and Blum and Cawthon are certainly taking a risk by bringing her on board, but I trust their vision, and if they think she can handle it, I have faith in that.
From the teaser we’ve gotten so far, the finalized movie looks to be very in tune with the games, and I can’t wait to see more of what her vision brings to the big screen this October.
Who Is Directing The FNAF Movie?: FAQs
Question: What games will the movie be based on?
Answer: According to Scott Cawthon, the movie will follow the FNAF 1-3, and the games after that will not exist in the movie universe. However, changes have been made since then, and Vanessa, a character from the games afterward, will be in the movie, so it’s unclear if this is still true.
At the same time, the movie Scott’s initial post was about has been scrapped in favor of this one, so it’s not really clear if what he says is still canon to the movie. From what I can gather, I believe the movie will exist in a different space than the games, where some things are different and some are the same, much like in the Silver Eyes trilogy.
Question: Who will be starring in the movie?
Answer: The movie will star Josh Hutcherson as Mike, Matthew Lillard as William Afton, Elizabeth Lail as Vanessa, and Kevin Foster as Freddy Fazbear. The movie has many smaller roles filled by various actors.
Question: What will the plot of the movie be?
Answer: The movie will follow Mike Schmidt from the first game as he begins working the night shift at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. However, he soon realizes that the four main animatronics of the pizzeria move on their own at night and attack anyone left in the building.
According to a leaked synopsis, Mike will be working to protect his younger sister Abby, and police officer Vanessa will also come in to “help him survive the night” and “shed light on the dark history and inner workings of Fazbear Entertainment and its nefarious co-founder William Afton.”