After two extremely profitable films, James Wan’s Insidious series is about to enter a brave new world. For one, Wan has said goodbye to the horror genre, and will not direct Insidious 3; instead, longtime Wan confident Leigh Whannell will take up residence in the director’s chair. It’s been known for some time that previous stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne won’t be coming back either, but today brings official confirmation of just who will take over for Wilson as Insidious 3’s male lead.
Dermot Mulroney (Stoker, The Grey) has signed on to topline Insidious 3, although the exact nature of his role is still being kept under wraps. Mulroney – not to be confused with Dylan McDermott – most recently fronted NBC’s now canceled drama Crisis alongside Rachael Taylor, and first broke into the pop culture consciousness via films like Young Guns and My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Mulroney joins mostly unknown teen actress Stefanie Scott – who, if you’ve never seen her before, is a dead ringer for Revenge star Emily Van Camp – in the Insidious 3 cast. Scott’s role also has yet to be revealed, although the age difference between her and Mulroney suggests a possible father/daughter relationship. This will be Scott’s second outing for producer Jason Blum, her first being the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie.
Plot details for Insidious 3 remain frustratingly unrevealed, which isn’t surprising, as Insidious 2’s story was kept vague until only months before its theatrical release. One of the only concrete things we do know is that Insidious 3 will not continue the scenario involving Specs, Tucker, and Elise that was teased at the end of Insidious 2, although the intrepid trio is indeed confirmed to return.
On the surface, Whannell seems like a natural choice to succeed Wan as director, having penned the scripts for both Insidious and Insidious 2 in addition to playing the supporting role of comedic ghost hunter Specs in both films. That said, Whannell has never directed a feature before, and producer Wan is likely far too busy to hold his hand on set. Insidious 3 enters production in July, and with Whannell set to assume the triple role of writer, actor, and director, one wonders whether this assignment will be too much, too soon, for the still relatively untested filmmaker.
Mulroney will face a challenge as well in replacing Wilson, who truly put his own stamp on the series, giving drastically different performances depending on what the demanding role of Josh Lambert called for. Outside of filling Wilson’s shoes, Mulroney has the possible impediment of never having acted in a horror film before. The closest he’s ever come are horror-tinged thrillers like Copycat and the aforementioned Stoker. While they may not get much Oscar love, horror movies demand a very unique type of acting ability, one that Mulroney has yet to get extensive practice with.
Will Insidious 3 prove to be a worthy sequel, or should it be preemptively banished to The Further? We’ll all find out next spring.
Insidious 3 will be released on April 3, 2015.