James Wan has cast Annabelle Wallis in his next horror film. Wan, of course, is coming off the success of DC's Aquaman, which grossed well over a billion dollars at the box office last winter, and helped the DC Extended Universe to rebound in the wake of Justice League's disappointing turnout just over a year earlier. Since then, the writer-director has expressed a desire to get back to his indie horror filmmaking roots and work on something original, before he jumps back into the larger world of franchises and big-budget IP adaptations.
As such, Wan is currently working on an original horror project, with the intention of getting it into production this fall. Plot details are being kept tightly under-wraps for the time being, though it's been revealed the movie is based on a story written by Wan and Ingrid Bisu (whom Wan is engaged to). The mysterious film has now taken another step forward and found its female lead.
According to Variety, Wallis was recently tapped to star in Wan's upcoming horror film. She's far from a stranger to the genre either, having previously appeared in Annabelle - the prequel to Wan's 2013 horror hit The Conjuring - and starred opposite Tom Cruise in 2017's The Mummy reboot.
Wan, as mentioned, has been staying tight-lipped about his new movie, other than confirming (via Instagram) it will bring him back to his indie roots and feature old-fashioned practical effects (unlike the blue and green screen-heavy Aquaman especially). He's also described it as being a "hard-R thriller", which suggests something tonally close to his original horror films like Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring. Of course, the filmmaker's non-horror efforts past have similarly had a bit of an edge to them; even the PG-13 Aquaman included the freaky monsters from The Trench (which are getting their own spinoff movie now). Still, it should be fun to watch Wan go properly "hard-R" again.
It's likewise encouraging to see Wan take a break from franchises and tackle something original again. As enjoyable as his efforts have been on films like Furious 7, Aquaman, and the various Conjuring spinoffs he's either cowritten, produced, and/or directed over the last several years, the filmmaker made his name crafting inventive and exciting new spins on familiar horror sub-genres and concepts, and has rarely failed to excel while playing in a sandbox of his own creation. He's clearly invigorated by this idea behind this new project too, and has already found a capable star in Wallis to lead the way, which is all the more encouraging.