Nearly six years after The Grudge reboot was first announced by Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures, a director has finally been found. Filmmaker Nicolas Pesce, whose critically-acclaimed directorial debut The Eyes Of My Mother debuted at Sundance last year, has signed on to direct The Grudge reboot, and rewrite the script. While no production schedule or release date has been announced yet, it seems this horror reboot is finally moving forward in the right direction, after years of languishing in development hell.
Deadline reports that Nicolas Pesce will rewrite the existing script, which was first worked on by Jeff Buhler (Midnight Meat Train), who came aboard to write the script in 2014. No details have been given about the existing script, or Nicolas Pesce's new vision for the project, or how it may diverge from the original Japanese movie, or the American remake. The original Japanese movie, Ju-on: The Grudge along with other hits like Ringu, which was adapted into The Ring, sparked a wave of low-budget horror hits, both in Japan and the U.S.
The American remake of The Grudge earned $187 million worldwide from just a $10 million budget, centering on Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an American nurse living and working in Tokyo, who becomes exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim. Sarah Michelle Gellar returned for the 2006 sequel The Grudge 2, although it didn't fare quite as well, earning $70.7 million from a $20 million budget. Both American movies, plus the first two Japanese Ju-On movies, were directed by Takashi Shimizu, but he did not return to direct the 2009 straight-to-video The Grudge 3, which was helmed by Toby Wilkins.
Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Takashige Ichise are serving as producers, with Roy Lee, Doug Davison, Joseph Drake and Nathan Kahane serving as executive producers. Erin Westerman and Romel Adam will oversee for Ghost House. As of now, the project doesn't have a distributor, but with Sam Raimi and Ghost House behind the project, along with a talented young director, this project may come together quite quickly, despite languishing for nearly six years in development hell. Still, the new director has to rewrite the script as well, so this may not be coming as soon as many might hope.
Director Nicolas Pesce is currently in post-production on his follow-up to The Eyes Of My Mother, an adaptation of Ryû Murakami's novel Piercing. That film stars Mia Wasikowska, Wendell Pierce, Marin Ireland, Christopher Abbott, and Dakota Lustick. There is no release date in place for that film, although it may very well hit the festival circuit next year if post-production can be completed on time. Now that The Grudge has finally found a director, hopefully we'll start hearing about casting soon.