In 2019, The Conjuring writers Chad and Carey Hayes announced a rather ambitious new horror project that, like the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, was based on a horrific true story. The Hayes brothers booked a stay in New Orleans' LaLaurie Mansion, one of the most famous haunted buildings in America, and wrote a script about the house's brutal history and its purported supernatural legacy. Now, a budding horror franchise that already had the Hayes brothers onboard has landed another scary movie icon.
Deadline reports that director Darren Lynn Bousman, who recently made his triumphant return to the Saw franchise with Spiral, has signed on to direct the first film in the brothers' planned series of movies about the LaLaurie house. Bousman's attachment to the project comes as production company Faster Horse is preparing to cast the film for shooting later this year.
“Joining this project is a dream come true for me. For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with the paranormal. Anyone who studies the supernatural knows the legends and lore of the LaLaurie Mansion," Bousman said in a statement. "It’s the holy grail of these types of environments. Recently I was allowed access to the house, and was able to stay there with the Hayes brothers. There is no way to articulate my 72 hours inside those walls. The house consumes you. It’s history cripples you. The Hayes Brothers have crafted such an emotional, suspenseful, and scary narrative that I cannot wait to introduce the world to this unbelievable location.”
As previously depicted in American Horror Story: Coven, the LaLaurie Mansion was made infamous by its most notorious resident, Madame LaLaurie, who brutalized and killed her slaves in the mansion in the early 19th century, only to escape the city after her killing spree was exposed. A fictionalized version of LaLaurie was played by Kathy Bates in Coven, in which she appeared as a witch cursed to live in eternal torment for her crimes.
Coven may have gotten to the LaLaurie legend first, but the Hayes Brothers are building their story, in part, on unprecedented access to the house and its history. The brothers were able to stay in the legendary home as part of their writing process for the project, and Bousman will be allowed to shoot on location, though the house has been largely closed to the public for decades. The mansion's current owner, Michael Whalen, is collaborating with Faster Horse on the films and will serve as a producer on the project.
With that kind of access and a horror pedigree with its roots in both The Conjuring and Saw, it's not surprise that studios and streaming services are reportedly already interested in acquiring the budding franchise. The first film in the proposed series will be set in the present day, and aims to start production later this year.