Earlier this year, horror fans were treated to the surprising announcement that a prequel to the 2009 psychological thriller Orphan was in the works. Well, more details have now emerged regarding the prequel, which will be titled Orphan: First Kill, with The Bourne Identity star Julia Styles now joining the cast. Even more excitingly, it has also been confirmed that Isabelle Fuhrman will return to play Esther, the titular orphan who is not exactly what she appears to be.

Orphan: First Kill will follow Fuhrman's Esther, who in the movie is living under the name Leena Klammer, as she "orchestrates a brilliant escape from an Estonian psychiatric facility and travels to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. But Leena'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 has now been over a decade since actress Isabelle Fuhrman played the role of the supposedly 9-year-old Esther, with reports stating that the movie will use "forced perspective shooting and a world-class makeup team" in order to help bring the character to life once again. This sounds like quite the task, and it will certainly be interesting to see how well the production team manage to pull to it off.

Stiles, whose previous feature credits include Hustlers, the Jason Bourne franchise, Silver Linings Playbook and Showtime's Dexter, will likely star in the horror prequel as the protective mother who goes head-to-head with Esther.

Orphan: First Kill is being directed by The Boy and Brahms: The Boy II director William Brent Bell, who is already shooting the movie in Winnipeg, Canada. The script meanwhile has been written by David Coggeshall, whose background in horror includes the likes of Scream: The TV Series and The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia.

Dark Castle's Alex Mace, Hal Sadoff and Ethan Erwin are producing with James Tomlinson. David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick will serve as an EP with Jen Gorton and Josie Liang overseeing for eOne. Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales.

Released in 2009, the first Orphan was a moderate success at the box office, grossing $78 million worldwide against a $20 million budget. The movie was not particularly well-favored by critics, holds an approval rating of 56% based on 154 reviews, but Fuhrman's central performance was lauded, with some critics comparing her to that of Linda Blair in The Exorcist and Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed.

Orphan follows a couple, played by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard, who have recently lost their baby and adopt a nine-year-old girl. They soon find out that she has a troubled and mysterious past, and that she is perhaps not at all who she appears to be. Orphan stars Isabelle Fuhrman, C. C. H. Pounder and Jimmy Bennett in supporting roles.

It will be interesting to see how Orphan: First Kill approaches the material, particularly as it will be telling an earlier story with the twist already well-known, but with Fuhrman returning, the prequel is sure to be an intriguing prospect. This comes to us from Deadline.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge