James Wan in handing over the keys to his haunted house. After helming the first two installments in New Line’s hit horror franchise The Conjuring, the Aquaman director is stepping aside as director of the franchise and handing the gig over to The Curse of La Llorona filmmaker Michael Chaves.
Chaves will direct The Conjuring 3 and Wan will remain on board as a producer via his Atomic Monster banner. Peter Safran is also returning as producer via his Safran Company. Wan discovered Chaves from his award-winning horror short The Maiden and produced his directorial debut La Llorona, which arrives in theaters next year. And clearly Wan was impressed with what he saw if he’s handing his big-bucks franchise to the up-and-coming filmmaker.
“While working closely with Chaves on The Curse of La Llorona, I got to know him as a filmmaker,” said Wan (via THR). “Chaves’ ability to bring emotion to a story, and his understanding of mood and scares make him a perfect fit to direct the next Conjuring film.” He added, “I’m excited to be back as producer and continue with Vera [Farmiga] and Patrick [Wilson] on the next supernatural adventure of the Warrens.”
“I am a huge fan of the Conjuring films,” said Chaves. “The movies are the rare combination that deliver both tremendous heart and awesome scares. It is both a total thrill and absolute honor to be working with James and the gang at New Line again.”
The Conjuring 3 is also getting a bit of a shakeup in the scripting department and will be the first without a script by Chad and Carey Hayes. David Leslie Johnson, who on The Conjuring 2 and Wan’s Aquaman, is writing the script for the next supernatural adventure of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
This isn’t the first time Wan has payed it forward to a young filmmaker — he also discovered David F. Sandberg via his horror short Lights Out and went on to produce Sandberg’s feature length adaptation of the same name, before bringing Sandberg into the Conjuring-verse with the spinoff sequel Annabelle: Creation. Sandberg followed in his mentor’s footsteps and rode his horror success to the realm of superheroes with New Line’s upcoming Shazam!
The Conjuring franchise continues to flourish at the box office, and the latest spinoff film — Corin Hardy‘s The Nun — was the highest-grossing film in the franchise to date. In addition to The Conjuring 3, New Line also has a third Annabelle film in the works with in-house favorite screenwriter Gary Dauberman set to make his directorial debut. The studio is also reportedly working on a Crooked Man spinoff, inspired by the lanky demonic force introduced in The Conjuring 2, though it’s been some time since there was an update on that front.