Josh Ruben to Direct Heart Eyes Next; Starts Filming in Auckland This Month

Actor-director Josh Ruben is set to add another chilling project to his filmography! The filmmaker’s next feature is the horror thriller ‘Heart Eyes.’ The movie’s shooting is scheduled to begin in Auckland, New Zealand, on June 10 and last until July 30. Olivia Holt (‘Cruel Summer’ and ‘Runaways’) and Mason Gooding (‘Scream VI’ and ‘Fall’) headline the cast.

The film brings a fresh twist to the Valentine’s Day-set narratives by merging the romantic holiday with the eerie elements of festival-themed horror movies. Set in the streets of Seattle, the plot takes place when the city is terrorized by the Heart Eyes Killer, a serial murderer who preys on romantic couples. Two co-workers who find themselves working late on Valentine’s Day are mistaken for a couple by the psychopathic killer. Engaged in a suspenseful cat-and-mouse chase, the pair must navigate a night filled with danger as they seek survival.

Josh Ruben has worked in the industry for over a decade, steadily building a reputation for his unique blend of horror and comedy. After creating shorts and vines for the YouTube channel CollegeHumor, his career eventually took off in 2020 when ‘Scare Me,’ his feature film debut, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was well-received by audiences and critics alike. He returned to the director’s chair the following year with ‘Werewolves Within,’ and is currently working on his third directorial project, ‘Green Bank,’ a horror sci-fi flick.

Given its premise, the movie is set to be shot primarily during evening and nighttime hours. Considering the warm summer weather in Washington, it is a natural decision to opt for filming in locations outside of Seattle. For a Valentine’s Day backdrop, the Pacific nation emerges as a fitting choice, as it experiences winter conditions during June. The colder climate should further enhance the authenticity of the city’s winter surroundings.

Prominent projects filmed in New Zealand include Netflix’s ‘Sweet Tooth‘ and Prime Video’s ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,’ as well as the sequels to James Cameron’s ‘Avatar.’ The selection of Auckland for the shoot is notable, given its growing reputation as a versatile location for various genres. ‘Heart Eyes’ is expected to add to the city’s growing reputation as a hub for international film production. Ruben’s flick will be joining other horror films, such as Blumhouse’s ‘M3gan 2.0‘ and Disney+’s ‘Zombies 4,’ in the region.

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