Jordan Peele, Oscar-winning writer of Get Out and currently one of Hollywood’s busiest people, is in talks to remake Candyman.
The 1992 original, loosely based on a short story by Clive Barker but transported from an English setting to the Chicago projects, is really really scary. Starring Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd, it follows a student investigating the urban legend of a supernatural killer, only to find the legend is all too real.
It’s full of nasty killings, terrifying bees and disturbing ideas that stick with you long after watching, although as anyone who watched it at a sleepover as a kid will know, the scariest bit came afterwards, when your friends peer-pressured you into saying “Candyman” five times into a mirror in the middle of the night then one of them jumped out with a pillowcase on his head and you jumped so high in the air you left your skin behind.
Candyman seems like it would be a perfect for Peele, a horror aficionado whose work almost always includes a look at the racial politics of the world we inhabit – as iconically, terrifyingly portrayed by Tony Todd, Candyman was horror cinema’s first black slasher.
Director Bernard Rose, a white Englishman, met with the NAACP while making it, telling the Independent: “I had to go and have a whole set of meetings with the NAACP, because the producers were so worried, and what they said to me when they’d read the script was ‘Why are we even having this meeting? You know, this is just good fun.’ Their argument was ‘Why shouldn’t a black actor be a ghost? Why shouldn’t a black actor play Freddy Krueger or Hannibal Lector? If you’re saying that they can’t be, it’s really perverse. This is a horror movie!”
Peele has a lot on his plate at the moment, with loads of projects in various stages of development and production. After the colossal success of Get Out he’s found himself as Hollywood’s go-to horror man.
He is currently working on another thriller, Us, starring Lupita N’yongo and Winston Duke, coming out next March and still mainly under wraps. He’s producing the upcoming HBO show Lovecraft Country, featuring Cthulhu-esque monsters in a racist 1950s America, and an updating of The Twilight Zone. There’s an animated film with The Nightmare Before Christmas’s Henry Selick in the works. He just produced Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, is an executive producer on the Tracy Morgan sitcom The Last O.G., and has shows coming out on both Amazon (The Hunt, about modern-day Nazi hunters, and Lorena, about the Bobbitts, a couple infamous in the ‘90s for a penis-severing incident) and YouTube Premium (Weird City, a sci-fi anthology show).
Nothing regarding the remake is set in stone yet, and Peele is absurdly busy, but we’re optimistic about this. The real question is, could anyone out-Candyman Tony Todd?