About a month ago, when it was reported that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) would be starring in the new Candyman movie, many (including us) jumped to the conclusion that the Yale grad would be taking over the title role from horror icon Tony Todd. Apparently, as clarified by the upcoming film’s director Nia DaCosta, that is not the case.
In a chat with DaCosta about Little Woods, her crime drama that’s currently playing in theaters, our own Christina Radish was able to sneak in a couple of Candyman questions. Written by Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, and based on characters created by Clive Barker, few details about the new film are available other than its description as a “spiritual sequel” that will return to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood that provided the setting for the original 1992 movie. And while DaCosta’s comments don’t exactly offer any new information as to how the new movie will differ from the original, they do help to fire up the speculation all over again.
NIA DaCOSTA: Well, it’s been slightly misreported. I can’t say what’s happening in the film because we want it to be a surprise, but he’s not replacing Tony Todd. That’s been reported, and I was just like, “I don’t know what to say about this. This is not right.”
So while DaCosta stopped short of saying just what role Abdul-Mateen II would be playing, we can risk a little more speculation and say that, with this comment and Peele’s penchant for turning conventions on their heads in Get Out and Us, it’s bound to be anything except what we actually expect. Could Todd be returning in the title role in ways our puny minds cannot even begin to comprehend? Could Abdul-Mateen II be playing the beginning of a new and tragic iteration of the title character thanks to continued racism and class divides in our contemporary times? Maybe so. Either way, DaCosta will definitely be including some touchstones of the original film in this new version, specifically with regard to the work of Barker:
DaCOSTA: Oh, man, I love his work a lot, from Abarat to everything else. There’s so much specificity and dark whimsy in his work. Dark whimsy is not the right word, but there’s so much reality and truth in it, at the same time. Being able to take genre and expansive worlds and expansive people, and doing that as well as he’s done it, is a big thing. Also, there’s the weirdness of it that I think is really special, and how specific that weirdness is. That’s what I want to draw into our Candyman
Little Woods is in theaters now; keep an eye out for Christina’s full interview. Candyman arrives to haunt your dreams on June 12, 2020.