The Conjuring franchise spinoff The Nun has found its first cast member, in the form of Demián Bichir. The modern horror genre is mired in a sea of remakes, franchise updates, and tired found footage attempts, but there have been a few standout hits, both commercially and culturally. Insidious, for example, rocked audiences back in 2011, launching an entire franchise and countless new projects for its cast and crew.
Insidious director James Wan then went on to continue working with star Patrick Wilson for his 2013 film, The Conjuring, alongside Vera Farmiga. The Conjuring was another instant success, recouping more than fifteen times its $20 million budget. Warner Bros. Pictures smartly greenlit a sequel, and The Conjuring 2 debuted last summer to even more commercial success. Now, a spinoff for one of the The Conjuring 2’s bone-chilling demons, Varak, is on its way.
The Nun, based on a script by Gary Dauberman and Wan, is in development with director Corin Hardy (The Hallow) signed on to the project. According to THR, The Nun has cast Bichir in a starring role. Bichir will play Father Burke, a priest who is “dispatched by Rome to investigate a mysterious death of a nun.” Shooting is set to begin this summer in Romania.
Film buffs will recognize Bichir from his Oscar-nominated role as Carlos in Chris Weitz’s A Better Life. He also starred as Bob in Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 Western The Hateful Eight and costars in Ridley Scott’s upcoming Alien: Covenant. The actor, who rose to prominence through classical theatrical work, no doubt has the chops to pull off what is sure to be a heavy role. There’s nothing more dramatic than the shades of grey between Catholicism and Gothic themes, after all.
Because he’s hard at work on the highly-anticipated Aquaman, James Wan has left this project to directing newcomer Hardy. The Nun will be the second spinoff from Wan’s world of The Conjuring; Annabelle was the first. With The Nun on its way next year and Annabelle: Creation set for release this August, it looks like Wan’s horror offerings will continue to dominate minds and wallets for summers to come. Though these glossy projects have their fair share of scares, it’s unclear whether or not this endless series of spin-offs and sequels will generate anything really inventive and new.
Even if it doesn’t rock the critical world when it debuts next summer, The Nun is shaping up to be a satisfyingly chilling horror addition. Bichir definitely has the gravitas to give this movie an air of dramatic credibility, so Wan might have hit on a winning formula with here. With one more year before we get back in the habit, though, we’ll all just have to wait and see.