Before Scott Derrickson exited Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the filmmaker boasted that he would be making the “first scary MCU movie.” That may no longer be true considering Spider-Man director Sam Raimi has taken up the helm of the Marvel sequel, but Derrickson is returning to his horror roots in a big way with The Black Phone. The horror movie based on a Joe Hill short story just took a major step forward by casting Ethan Hawke.
The Black Phone was announced back in October, with Scott Derrickson and frequent collaborator Robert Cargill writing the movie together, as well as Blumhouse producing the project. Now the movie is falling into place with Ethan Hawke playing a lead role, Plus, the production is also officially set to begin in February in North Carolina. Fans of Derrickson’s most spine-chilling dives into horror will remember that Hawke also starred in 2012’s Sinister, another Blumhouse feature.
This upcoming cinematic story is pulled from Joe Hill’s collection of short stories 20th Century Ghosts. Black Phone is about a kidnapped kid who finds himself trapped in a soundproof basement by remains of victims. Hawke will play the mysterious kidnapper. At night, the boy becomes haunted by a disconnected antique telephone in the room that rings “with the calls from the dead.” Are you turning all the lights on yet?
Joe Hill is the son of the great Stephen King, and has seen a number of his stories become movie and TV adaptations. between Horns with Daniel Radcliffe and Netflix series Locke & Key. Robert Cargill has said he and Derrickson have been plotting to make The Black Phone into a feature film for about a decade before Blumhouse gave the green light to the project. It certainly sounds like it could be one of the most exciting upcoming horror projects to look out for in the near future.
The Black Phone has also cast its two child actors, with Mason Thomas of Apple TV+’s For All Mankind playing the boy at the center of the horror movie, and Madeleine McGraw playing his sister. A release date has not yet been announced for the Blumhouse project.
Ethan Hawke recently signed up to play the main villain in Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ series Moon Knight, reportedly with Oscar Isaac and Ramy’s May Calamawy. The actor will apparently work on Black Phone before jumping to the set of Moon Knight to join the MCU on the TV front. Scott Derrickson is also making a thriller with Captain America actor Chris Evans called Bermuda.
It’s exciting to see Scott Derrickson continue to make more horror movies despite heading into the superhero genre with Doctor Strange. He may not get to continue to put his directorial mark on the Marvel franchise due to “creative differences” with the studio, but he’s passed off the torch to Sam Raimi, who has had experience in both horror and comic book movies over the years.