Sony's The Grudge reboot has revealed its main cast and filming start date. American audiences already experienced one version of The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as a nurse menaced by a supernatural curse. That film was itself a remake of the 2002's Ju-On, a movie widely recognized as a classic of Japanese horror.
Released amid a flurry of Japanese horror classics like Ringu and Dark Water (both of which also got American remakes), Ju-On concerned a pair of vengeful ghosts marking and pursuing anyone unfortunate enough to enter their house. The 2004 American remake made certain story changes that didn't sit well with fans of the original. However, the movie still went on to gross $187.3 million worldwide on a budget of only $10 million. Then as now, horror films are incredibly profitable.
Sony will now reboot The Grudge with an obvious eye toward launching a franchise to rival the offerings of Blumhouse. As reported by Variety, Demian Bichir and Andrea Riseborough will head up the movie's cast. The report confirms prior news that Riseborough was sought for the female lead. The film will go before cameras beginning in May. Nicolas Pesce directs from his own script.
Grudge reboot star Andrea Riseborough currently appears as Stalin's harried daughter Svetlana in Armando Iannucci's brutal satire The Death of Stalin. She also stars opposite Michael Shannon in the Paramount Network mini-series Waco. Last year she played opposite Emma Stone in the tennis biopic Battle of the Sexes. She also appeared in the disturbing Black Mirror episode Crocodile. Demián Bichir, meanwhile, has been going heavy on the horror lately, with roles in last year's Alien: Covenant and 2018's Conjuring spinoff The Nun. Next year Bichir stars with Daisy Ridley in Doug Liman's Chaos Walking.
SPWA, Ghost House, and Good Universe, the companies responsible for the acclaimed thriller Don't Breathe, will produce The Grudge. Ghost House founder Sam Raimi, himself an iconic name in horror history, gave a preview of what they will aim for with this new take on The Grudge:
"We are so excited about this new adaptation. We went back to the original source material to deliver a relentless supernatural thrill ride that explores the horrors of American suburbia.”
The original source material includes not only the 2002 theatrical film The Grudge but also a pair of direct-to-video Grudge movies made prior to that by director Takashi Shimizu. Shimizu would go on to direct both the American remake, and its 2006 sequel starring Amber Tamblyn. But Shimizu will not return to direct the reboot. That task falls instead to Nicolas Pesce, who directed the 2018 thriller Piercing starring Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott. Pesce debuted with 2016's The Eyes of My Mother. Unsettling material certainly seems to intrigue Pesce, and now we'll see what he does with the supernatural horror of The Grudge.