Here’s a spooky bit of Monday news that might just put a chill up your spine: Lee Daniels, the multi-hyphenate director behind hits such as Precious, The Butler, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday, has set sights on his next directorial outing – with Netflix coming on board yesterday evening, after a tense bidding war that raged late into the night.
The untitled project is described as a “star-studded exorcism movie” by Deadline, and reunites Daniels with his Billie Holiday star Andra Day. They’re joined by Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close, Rob Morgan, Caleb McLaughlin, and Aunjanue Ellis, presently picking up accolades left, right and center on the awards circuit for her breakout performance in King Richard opposite Will Smith. “Day will play the mother of an Indiana family whose children purportedly became demoncially possessed in a thriller inspired by an actual case,” Deadline says.
Netflix paid upward of $65 million for the film, covering its budget and buyouts. Tucker Tooley and Pam Williams will produce the film alongside Daniels, and it’s set to begin production by the middle of this year. It’s feasible, then, that we could see a release by the fourth quarter of 2022 – although a 2023 premiere is probably more likely. Deadline says that Daniels has “long been in the mix” on the film, implying it to be a project he has wanted to tackle for a number of years.
McLaughlin will play the son of Day‘s character “at an older age,” Deadline reports. Close will play Day‘s character’s mother. Morgan is set to be Day‘s character’s boyfriend. Spencer is set to appear as a member of the church clergy who supports Day‘s character through the ghoulish events.
Deadline notes a case “widely covered” some years ago, in which Latoya Ammons from Gary, Indiana and her three children experienced strange, purportedly supernatural incidents in their home. They became “progressively worse, with the children levitating, becoming violent with one another, and speaking in growls and deep voices with no recollection afterward”. While skeptics naturally abounded, the case drew some legitimacy after the local Police Department, Child Services, church, and hospital all became involved, each filing reports which took the events seriously.
Esteemed members of each institution, from officers to social workers, all said they witnessed major incidents, “including one in which [Ammons’] 9-year-old son walked backward up a wall”. Well, whatever the truth, it’ll sure make for a damn scary movie.