Orton will adapt the 1953 novel by Davis Grubb, and the story will updated for modern audiences. Amy Pascal will produce via her Pascal Pictures along with Peter Gethers, while Universal’s Jay Polidoro will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Directed by Charles Laughton, The Night of the Hunter starred Robert Mitchum as Reverend Harry Powell, a misogynistic serial killer whose former cellmate made off with $10,000 following a bank robbery. The bank robber is executed, and when Powell gets out of jail, he sets out to find the man’s widow so he can steal the money from her and her young children, who know where it’s hidden. Once Powell reveals his sinister intentions, an all-night standoff ensues.
When news of this project first broke, Collider’s internal Slack channel exploded with casting suggestions, with everyone from Josh Brolin and Nicolas Cage to Michael Shannon and Walton Goggins mentioned. Veteran film reporter Anne Thompson took to Twitter to throw Tom Hardy‘s name in the ring, and I do think the studio will seek a legitimate movie star for the villainous lead role. Matt Damon made a great psycho in The Talented Mr. Ripley, and I love when Ryan Gosling goes dark, as in Drive or The Place Beyond the Pines. The American Psycho himself, Christian Bale, would also be a worthy choice. But for some reason, I keep coming back to Edward Norton, who may not put butts in seats, but always delivers top-notch performances. If you’ve seen Norton in films like Primal Fear, American History X, Down in the Valley and Stone, you know he’s capable of the charming darkness that the Powell role requires.
Of course, before casting begins, the studio will have to find a director. Just like I did with the hypothetical Tiger King movie, I’d suggest David Gordon Green, but then again, he already tackled this kind of material in his 2004 film Undertow, which drew comparisons to Night of the Hunter, so he’s out. A female filmmaker would be interesting for this project — perhaps someone like Jennifer Kent, whose most recent film, The Nightingale, was a terrifying masterpiece.
Let us know who you think should star in the Night of the Hunter remake — and direct it — in the comments section below. And even though it has nothing to do with Night of the Hunter, click here to watch a clip from the Henry Cavill movie Night Hunter, which is also about a sadistic killer preying on women.