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WIRE Buzz: William Brent Bell to helm Orphan prequel; La Brea enters ‘hole’ new dimension; more
William Brent Bell, already renowned for horror creep-outs like The Devil Inside and The Boy series, is about to be a whole lot busier. Fresh off the news earlier this week that Bell will be helming the upcoming folk horror flick Lord of Misrule comes news that he’s also signed on to direct Esther — a prequel to the 2009 horror hit Orphan.
Via Deadline, Esther finds Leena Klammer, the troubled woman at the center of Orphan’s psychologically gripping story, making “a brilliant escape from a Russian psychiatric facility” and heading to U.S. soil, where she impersonates “the missing daughter of a wealthy family” under her new name (you guessed it — Esther). But the new family’s mother is determined to “protect her family at any cost” as Esther’s new life in America begins unraveling with “an unexpected wrinkle.”Produced under Hasbro’s Entertainment One banner, filming on Esther is expected to get underway in the third quarter of this year, with Prey writer David Coggeshall reportedly penning the script. Bell’s most recent directing project, The Boy sequel Brahms: The Boy II, is slated to open in theaters on Friday (Feb. 21).
Casting and release date information for Esther hasn’t yet been announced. Starring Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, and Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, Orphan launched the budding series more than a decade ago with Jaume Collet-Serra as director. The first film ended up hauling in a global $78.9 million box office, against a reported production budget of $20 million.
Anytime there’s a hole in the earth, you can expect things to get weird. NBC’s reportedly planning to take that idea into supernaturally scary territory with a pilot order for La Brea, a new genre-bending series that follows a dimensionally-challenged family separated after a sinkhole opens up near their Los Angeles home.
TV Line reports that Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time) is set to star in the apocalyptic drama as Gavin Wolcott, a dad stranded with his daughter (Zyra Gorecki) on one side of a rift that the sinkhole opens to “an unexplainable primeval world,” with mother and son stuck at the other end. At the far edge in the new reality, “a disparate group of strangers” accompanies one half of the family as they “work to survive and uncover the mystery of where they are and if there is a way back home.”
Written by David Appelbaum (The Enemy Within) who also serves as an executive producer, La Brea’s pilot episode hasn’t yet been given a premiere date.
Finally, Justin Bieber’s long-gestating animated take on classical mythology has finally found a writer. THR reports that Mike Vukadinovich (Marvel’s Runaways) will write the screenplay for Cupid, a reimagining of the ancient love story of Cupid and Psyche with Bieber voicing the title character. Michael Gracey, who directed the critically-praised 2017 The Greatest Showman musical has also signed on as an executive producer.
Details about the Pete Candeland-directed movie have been few and far between since its announcement back in the summer of 2018. The story of the love-arrow slinger and the princess of matchless beauty has been a creative fixation for generations of storytellers from its ancient Greek origins into the present day, with retellings both comedic and — like C.S. Lewis’ classic Till We Have Faces — even tragic retellings.
According to the report, Cupid will be the first filmed entry in a planned MythoVerse — “a cinematic universe of stories and characters inspired by classic Greek and Roman mythology” produced by Mythos Studios. There’s still no word on a release date, so keep that bow and quiver at the ready.