James Wan is at an interesting place in his career. While he proved his action movie bonafides several years ago with the stressful production of Furious 7, it was last year that he managed to successfully launch a new superhero franchise with a wild premise and little in the way of a popular shared universe to fall back on. Nevertheless, Aquaman was gonzo, bubblegum fun that grossed about $1.2 billion at the box office. So, in theory, he could do anything he’d want next. Which makes news that he’s returning to horror so intriguing.
Malignant is the official title of Wan’s hush-hush horror film, which will star Annabelle Wallis and George Young. The initial announcement of the project revealed that Wan was locked in to direct a then-untitled horror movie set up at Warner’s New Line Cinema before he begins production on Aquaman 2. While details on the project (once tentatively titled Silvercup,) are still exceedingly scarce, Variety reports that Wan is working off a screenplay that he co-wrote with Ingrid Bisu (one of the co-stars of The Nun). He is also producing the film alongside Michael Clear via his Atomic Monster production label.
Malignant Movie Release Date
Malignant was supposed to open on Aug. 14, 2020. However, due to the coronavirus crisis, Warner Bros. has shaken up its release calendar in a major way. Wonder Woman 1984 has moved from its June 5 release date to Aug. 14, and Malignant is now indefinitely delayed.
Malignant Movie Details
The confirmation of the film’s title of Malignant arrived from Wan himself, with a clapperboard image revealing that production had commenced.
The fact that Wan returned to horror is not entirely surprising given that the director of Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring is widely considered a master of the genre. What is intriguing though is he’s chosen to do it on a new and potentially original project. Notably after directing both The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2—while waiting three years to get the second one right (a long period for horror)—he has stepped away from directing that franchise. The Conjuring 3 is scheduled to begin production later this year and has Michael Chaves attached to direct. So Wan choosing to use his time between Aquaman films (with Aquaman 2 taking a hefty four-year break until December 2022 on its own) on horror, but not The Conjuring, is intriguing.
Apparently he has a personal story to tell, and given the last movie he has a screenwriting credit on is the genuinely affecting Conjuring 2, that’s a good sign this will be closer to those mainline films than the Annabelle movies, which Wan was only producer on. Indeed, it’s through New Line he’s produced all of The Conjuring movies and their twisted timeline. So maybe this will be connected, after all?
Malignant Movie Cast
Maddie Hasson joined the cast for an unspecified key role, according to Deadline. Hasson stars on the imminently returning YouTube Premium series, Impulse, and fielded a run on Audience’s Mr. Mercedes. After a debut in 2011 film God Bless America, Hasson’s first big break came in 2012, in which she co-starred on Fox’s short-lived Bones spinoff, The Finder, moving on to co-star on ABC Family (now Freeform) show Twisted, after which she appeared opposite star Tom Hiddleston in Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light and film dramas A Light Beneath Their Feet, More Than Enough and Novitiate.
Annabelle Wallis (The Loudest Voice, The Mummy, Peaky Blinders) has been cast in the flick, reported Variety. Wallis previously worked with Wan on The Conjuring prequel Annabelle, which Wan produced. The film grossed over $257 million worldwide from a $6.5 million budget. So… they make a pretty good team.
George Young will serve as the film’s male lead, opposite Wallis, as Variety subsequently reported. The British actor gained exposure in the States as part of the main cast of The CW’s short-lived 2016 viral outbreak series, Containment, and recently appeared in the two-part indie dramedy movie, A Bread Factory. However, he might have blipped director James Wan’s genre radar as a co-star of the 2014 HBO Asia horror miniseries, Grace.
Jake Abel, Michole Briana White, and Jacqueline McKenzie also fill this cast.
We’ll have more spine-tingling news soon, to be sure.