The Slender Man legend began as an Internet meme in 2009 and has taken off to become a full-on phenomenon, spawning an HBO documentary, working its way into a Law & Order: SVU storyline and unfortunately inspiring at least one real-world murder attempt (rumors that the character would figure in American Horror Story season six turned out to be unfounded). Slender Man stories involve a mysterious long-limbed, faceless figure stalking, abducting and doing horrible things to people, usually children.
Given the popularity of Slender Man tales on the internet, and the infamy of the real-world Slender Man stabbings, it was only a matter of time before someone brought the character to the big screen. Plans to bring to life a big-screen version of Slender Man were revealed last May and are now moving forward at a rapid pace. Screen Gems has put things in motion and now their planned Slender Man film has a script and a director and there is a rough idea of when production will kick off.
According to Deadline, Screen Gems has tapped Sylvain White to direct Slender Man and the movie itself begins filming this spring. David Birke wrote the screenplay for the movie, which was acquired by Screen Gems last year as part of a multi-platform property. Mythology Entertainment, Madhouse Entertainment and No Dream Entertainment all retain a stake in the project.
Director Sylvain White is best-known for the Screen Gems musical romance Stomp the Yard and the crime adventure The Losers, and for having his name attached to a planned adaptation of Frank Miller’s Ronin, but he does have some horror background as well. White’s list of credits includes the direct-to-video slasher sequel I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer and an episode of the fantasy series Sleepy Hollow. Writer David Birke has a pretty varied portfolio that includes the critically-acclaimed 2016 drama Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Oscar-hopeful Isabelle Huppert.
It will be interesting to see how White and Birke manage to translate the Slender Man myth to the big screen. The Slender Man character, if you can even call him a character, began as a hovering, mysterious figure in creepypasta Photoshop images, but presumably he’ll have to do more than just hover in the background if he’s going to make it as a horror movie villain (unless the plan is to have him be a Michael Myers-type relentless, faceless killer).
If Slender Man succeeds on the big screen, you can pretty much guarantee there will be a stream of sequels. Horror movie properties, especially ones that lend themselves to low production budgets, are highly-sought-after commodities in Hollywood. Screen Gems is hoping their Slender Man can become a horror movie icon for Millennials much like Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger were for their parents.