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After making a sequel/soft reboot to 1992's Candyman, director Nia DaCosta knows all the ins and outs of the urban legend that summons a hook-handed killer if you say his name five times into a reflective surface. Speaking with Empire for the magazine's May 2020 issue, the filmmaker admitted that even after shooting the project, she's still afraid to recite the name into a mirror.
"You can't risk it," she reportedly said with a laugh. "I mean, I've literally made a movie on it, so I know it's all fake, but I'm still like, 'Nope. Not me. Not today.'"
Produced by Jordan Peele, the upcoming horror flick takes place in the now-gentrified Cabrini-Green, the Chicago neighborhood that was once riddled with gang violence. Watchmen's Yahya Abdul-Mateen II stars as Anthony McCoy, the grown-up version of the baby whom Helen Lyle (played by Virginia Madsen) saved from a fiery fate in the '92 original. McCoy is now a young artist with a dangerous interest in the Candyman myth, which begins to take a similar interest in him.
"He's an artist who lives in the neighborhood and part of the movie is him figuring out his place there as a Black gentrifier," DaCosta explained. "His identity is a really cool part of this film."
DaCosta, who co-wrote the movie's screenplay with Peele and Win Rosenfeld, also sees the 2020 reimagining as a chance to re-contextualize some of the first movie's inaccurate views on race.
"When you look at it through a modern lens, some of the politics don't really land the way we'd like them to today," she said, per Empire. "[Our Candyman is] definitely a sense of taking ownership, [of] telling a Black story about Black people and casting Black people as leads.”
Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, and the OG Daniel Robitaille himself, Tony Todd, make up the rest of the film's cast. Todd's role is being kept under wraps, but DaCosta described the veteran genre actor as "the lightning rod of this whole thing."
Candyman is currently scheduled to hit theaters on June 12. However, that release date could change as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds in the weeks to come.