In something of a surprise announcement, it's been revealed that we're getting a prequel to 2009's Orphan. William Brent Bell, who most recently directed Brahms: The Boy 2, has been tapped to helm Esther. It's not at all uncommon for horror movies that made money to get sequels or follow-ups, but it's certainly less common for a prequel to happen more than a decade later to a movie such as this, which makes it all the more intriguing.
According to several reports, eOne and Dark Castle are behind Esther, which is named after the lead character in Orphan, played by Isabelle Fuhrman. The script was penned by David Coggeshall, whose previous credits include The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia and Prey. He also served as a producer on Spike TV's 1000 Ways to Die. There is no word on casting yet, but production is expected to begin this summer, which means it's coming together rather quickly.
Orphan, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra centers on Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) who are heartbroken over the loss of their unborn child. So, they decide to adopt one. They are drawn to a particular girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) and they decide to take her home. However, a dangerous series of events follows and Kate suspects that there is something evil lurking deep within this seemingly innocent child. With that in mind, a logline for the prequel has been revealed, which reads as follows.
"Lena Klammer orchestrates a brilliant escape from a Russian psychiatric facility and travels to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. But Lena's new life as 'Esther' comes with an unexpected wrinkle and pits her against a mother who will protect her family at any cost."
It will be interesting to see how the story that's being laid out will connect to the events of the original. In recent horror history, Annabelle: Creation managed to serve as a satisfying prequel to The Conjuring spin-off Annabelle. While the original movie was panned by critics, Annabelle: Creation improved greatly on its predecessor and did quite well at the box office. Perhaps something similar can be accomplished with Esther.
For what it may be worth, Orphan holds a 56 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 63 percent audience rating. Most importantly, it grossed $77 million at the box office, which made it a decent hit. There is certainly reason to think that a follow-up could do well.
William Brent Bell's other directing credits include The Boy, The Devil Inside and Stay Alive. David Leslie Johnson, who penned the screenplay for Orphan, is on board as a producer for the prequel. Alex Mace, Hal Sadoff, Ethan Erwin and James Tomlinson are also on board as producers. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details on the project are made available. This news was previously reported by The Wrap.