Making the most of his screentime in Aquaman, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will now get a chance to become the face of a newly rejuvenated horror franchise in Candyman. The new take on the classic character comes courtesy of executive producer Jordan Peele and will be shepherded by director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) for MGM. Along with co-producer Win Rosenfield, the aim is to create a “spiritual sequel” to the current three-film franchise and bring it into the 21st century.
Variety reports that Abdul-Mateen II is in for Candyman, a twist on the typical horror tale that finds some surprising sympathy for/empathy with the title terror. Based on a short story by Clive Barker, that original film and the two sequels that followed starred Tony Todd as a vengeful spirit with a hook for a hand who could be summoned by saying his name in a mirror. Beyond the typical spooky urban legend tropes, the real power of the story exists in Candyman’s origin, that of a slave who managed to secure a place in high society in the post-Civil War era thanks to his artistry. But when he falls for a White woman and fathers a child with her, a lynch mob cuts off his painting hand, replaces it with a hook, covers him in honey so that he’s stung to death by bees, and then burns his body and scatters the ashes.
If you can’t see why Peele & Co. might be interested in retelling this tale in their own way, you might need to watch Get Out and Horror Noire again. The plan, as it stands right now, is to return to the original Chicago neighborhood where the Candyman’s ashes were scattered in the late 19th century, a place where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood though the area is now gentrified.
As for Abdul-Mateen II, he’s currently slated to star in HBO’s Watchmen TV series as a series regular and will also appear in Us, writer/director Peele’s follow-up to his smash horror hit, Get Out. Big things are in the works for the relative newcomer to the game, and this feels like just the beginning.