If it isn’t already in existence, I think there should be a clause in every actor’s agency contract that they must inevitably appear in a Jason Blum production, as established performers provide his films with more legitimacy when things go weird. One of the latest on the Blumhouse Productions slate is the religious cult horror The Veil, and Jessica Alba is in negotiations to join the previously cast Thomas Jane. Beauty and brawn tend to go well in horror films, but this doesn’t sound like a flick that will be utilizing either of those traits.

Universal will be distributing The Veil, in which Alba will play a documentary filmmaker who travels to a compound formerly used by a group that called themselves Heaven’s Veil. All of the cult’s members simultaneously committed suicide, leaving behind only a five-year-old girl. As an adult, the survivor will accompany Alba back to the compound, where they will uncover some kind of a terrifying secret. No word yet on what kind of role Jane will be playing.

I’m hoping they find ten arks of the covenant that melt everyone’s faces, but I’m guessing it’ll have more to do with either an end of days message, or something closer to the Heaven’s Gate cult led by Marshall Applewhite. No one is counting out comet-following UFOs in a Blumhouse movie.

There’s also no word on whether this will be a traditionally shot film or if the documentary aspect means that the found-footage tactic will be used, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t go that route. Either way, this is the first genre film for director Phil Joanou, whose last feature was 2006’s juvie football drama Gridiron Gang. The script was written by Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911), who is laying down a thriller scripting side career away from his Night at the Museum comedic writing partner Thomas Lennon. (He also has Universal and Kevin Greutert’s Jessabelle coming out in August.) Joanou and Garant are not the most obvious choices for The Veil, but I’m all for surprise.

Alba hasn’t had a lot of luck with darker material in the past, but she has a slew of films coming out over the next year that should reestablish her with audiences, after taking much of the last few years to spend time with family. She was great in Funny or Die and IFC’s recent faux historical epic The Spoils of Babylon, and will have a chance to pull off more comedic moves in Joe Carnahan’s action comedy Stretch and Kyle Newman’s Barely Lethal. She also has the poetry-themed rom-com How to Make Love Like an Englishman and Robert Rodriguez’s much-anticipated sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Expect more casting soon, as the film is looking for an April production, according to THR. One of the more exciting aspects of this project is Joanou’s last production was actually the gritty short film Punisher: Dirty Laundry, with Jane reprising the muscled mountain. It was a reminder of how effective the director is, and you can see it below.

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