Although the upcoming Candyman film has been delayed from October 16th to sometime in 2021, director Nia DaCosta has teased how she is taking a slightly different approach to the titular villain’s origin.
During a live-streamed panel for the Nightstream Film Festival (via SlashFilm), DaCosta discussed how instead of positioning Candyman as an already fully formed monster like in the original, the latest instalment will feature a slow psychological descent into madness.
“In the original, he’s already a fully formed … I guess monster, we’ll say, because that’s definitely how he’s positioned in the original film, as a monster,” DaCosta said. “And so, it’s really like a reveal of like, ‘Here’s my chest. I’m fully formed, I’m fully grotesque,’ and in this one, we really wanted it to be a slow progression, and for me, I really wanted to trigger the response of like, you know when all of us have had a rash or something, and we’re like, hmm, what’s that? Maybe it’s a heat rash, and then maybe it doesn’t go away for a while and you’re like, hm, interesting. Should I go to the doctor? No, it’s probably fine. And then for a vast majority of people, it goes away.”
She added, “In this movie, of course, it doesn’t go away, it gets worse, and so I wanted to have that effect. If someone goes home after watching this movie and looks at their own rash, or bump, or mosquito bite and is a little more freaked out, then I’ve done my job. And that’s really what I wanted to do, it’s about getting inside the head of the audience and really viscerally disturbing them and tracking it psychologically with the sense of the main character.”
Candyman is directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Get Out and Us director Jordan Peele. The film features a cast that includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (HBO’s Watchmen), Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk), Colman Domingo (Fear the Walking Dead), Rebecca Spence (Public Enemies), Cassie Kramer (Bimbo) and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits).
For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.
With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.