The Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot movie has experienced a bit of butchery when it comes to its creative coalition, figuratively, anyway. Studio Legendary has dropped its appointed directorial duo of Ryan and Andy Tohill and will essentially scrap what’s been shot during their tenure with the project.
Legendary’s planned reboot of the frequently-rebooted bellwether horror film franchise was one week into production in Bulgaria when creative differences between the Tohills and the studio came to the colossal crescendo of the studio pulling the proverbial plug and parting ways with the directors, according to Deadline. The behind-the-scenes drama reportedly played out rapidly over the last 48 hours after the financing studio was rather unimpressed with the dailies turned in by the Tohills, resulting in an immediate rejection of their vision.
Yet, in keeping with the quickness of these developments, Legendary wasted no time at all hiring a replacement director in David Blue Garcia. Appropriately-based in Austin, out of the franchise’s titular state, Garcia has been working as an Emmy-winning cinematographer on several years’ worth of indie shorts, features and a variety of commercials, before making a directorial debut with 2018 feature Tejano. That film, a South-Texas-set smuggler thriller, premiered at the Dallas International Film Festival back in January 2019, and has now yielded Garcia a potential breakout opportunity—albeit at the expense of the Ryan and Andy Tohill.
No details have emerged yet on the new direction Garcia has in mind for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The recently-nixed iteration came about when Legendary tapped the Tohills (who were coming off 2018 thriller The Dig,) this past February. The Tohills were in the midst of a Bulgaria-for-Texas shoot, working off a screenplay by newcomer scribe Chris Thomas Devlin, when their fateful clash with the studio occurred. Their once-promising vision was described by attached producer Fede Alavarez in a February statement as “violent, exciting and so depraved that it will stay with you forever.”
However, Legendary has seemingly telegraphed a desire to return to the roots of the film franchise, which—loosely inspired by the murders of Ed Gein—launched with 1974’s original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was directed by Tobe Hooper off a screenplay he wrote with Kim Henkel (the latter of whom was involved with several of the reboots). The film, widely considered the wantonly-violent onscreen catalyst for the slasher genre, was defined by the terrifyingly iconic human-skin-mask-covered visage of the gas-powered hardware-handling homicidal maniac known as Leatherface. The first movie waited over a decade to release a sequel in Hooper’s self-parodying 1986 numerical follow-up, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which would be followed by decades of sequels and reboots, the most recent of which, 2017’s Leatherface, manifested as a prequel.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Legendary’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes shape after experiencing such a rapidly dramatic upheaval. Indeed, it will simultaneously serve as a breakthrough opportunity and a nerve-wracking sophomore cinematic test for new director David Blue Garcia, especially after the hair-trigger move that sent his predecessors packing.