Fox Searchlight announced today that filming has begun on the horror thriller Antlers, which is the first project to come to fruition under Guillermo del Toro’s deal with the studio that sees him developing live-action projects in the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres that he’ll produce, write, and/or direct. The deal was hatched after del Toro’s The Shape of Water won Best Picture for Searchlight, among other Oscars.
For Antlers, del Toro is simply a producer—it’s Crazy Heart and Hostiles filmmaker Scott Cooper who’s in the director’s chair. The project is an adaptation of a short story called The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca that takes place in small-town Oregon and revolves around a teacher and her brother, the local sheriff, who become entwined with a young student who harbors a dangerous secret with frightening consequences.
Keri Russell is onboard to star as the teacher while Jesse Plemons plays her brother and Jeremy T. Thomas plays the young boy. The rest of the ensemble is filled out by Graham Greene (Molly’s Game), Scott Haze (Venom), Rory Cochrane (Black Mass), and Amy Madigan (Field of Dreams).
Antosca & Henry Chaisson (Open 24 Hours) wrote the script with revisions by Cooper, who previously told Collider that the film is influenced by his love of Halloween, The Exorcist, and Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Cooper is known for films that are rather brutal and unforgiving, like the aforementioned Western Hostiles or his drama Out of the Furnace, so it’ll be interesting to see him bring that to the horror genre. Producing alongside del Toro are J. Miles Dale (The Shape of Water), David S. Goyer (Batman v Superman), and Kevin Turen (All Is Lost).
Cooper had this to say about the project via press release:
“I couldn’t be more excited to begin production on ANTLERS with Guillermo Del Toro, and reunite with my dear friends at Fox Searchlight. They’re incredible filmmakers – not to mention necessary filmmakers – and are extremely passionate and supportive of my vision as I venture into yet another genre, and delve into the unnerving world of ancestral spirits.”
Cooper’s behind-the-scenes team includes The Terror and A Quiet Passion cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister and production designer Tim Grimes (The Wrestler). Fox Searchlight has not yet set a release date for Antlers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the film was in theaters next fall.