While director James Wan had been steadily establishing himself as a filmmaker to watch via hits like Saw and Insidious, it wasn’t until 2013’s The Conjuring that Wan was truly cemented as a top tier Hollywood presence. Made on a modest – for Warner Bros. – $20 million budget, The Conjuring proved to be both a critical and commercial phenomenon, earning over $300 million worldwide. This led to the quick production of a 2014 spin-off focused on the film’s creepy Annabelle doll, which hauled in $256 million on a $6.5 million budget, despite terrible reviews.
Last year saw the arrival of The Conjuring 2, a proper sequel to The Conjuring that once again starred Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, and dramatized another allegedly true cases of demonic terror that they were called in to help with. Earning reviews nearly as positive as the original, Conjuring 2 was another box office smash, hauling in $320 million on a $40 million budget.
The Conjuring 2 also introduced fans to another Annabelle-style side villain, in the form of Valak, a powerful demon that took the form of a creepy nun in order to menace Ed and Lorraine. Following Annabelle’s lead, Warner Bros. quickly greenlit a spin-off focused on Valak, titled simply The Nun. According to Deadline, The Nun has now found its director, U.K. filmmaker Corin Hardy.
Hardy first got on Hollywood’s radar with his debut short Butterfly in 2003, and had been mostly directing music videos before earning positive reviews from genre fans for his 2015 independent horror film The Hallow. Hardy is currently attached as director to the long-gestating remake of The Crow, starring Jason Momoa in the role made famous by the late Brandon Lee in 1994. With The Crow still in search of a new studio to call home – following the bankruptcy of Relativity Media – The Nun will most likely enter production first.
In a move likely to give pause to those who didn’t like Annabelle, that film’s writer Gary Dauberman has been hired to write the script for The Nun, alongside Wan. That isn’t really much of a surprise though, as he was also brought back for Annabelle 2, despite the original’s aforementioned terrible reviews. Dauberman appears to be becoming a favorite of Warner Bros., who also brought him on to write Andy Muschetti’s upcoming movie version of Stephen King’s IT. For fans’ sake, here’s hoping his work on Annabelle wasn’t necessarily an indication of The Nun’s prospective quality.
We’ll let you know when The Nun gets an official release date.