Several Hollywood players, including MGM and Miramax, were vying for rights to the Oscar-nominated director’s upcoming project. Netflix’s $65 million price tag — a hefty sum covering the film’s production budget and buyouts — secured the sale, according to Deadline Hollywood, who broke the news.
The movie reunites Daniels and Andra Day, who recently worked together on Hulu’s musical biographical drama “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Day will star alongside a buzzy cast that includes Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Rob Morgan, “Stranger Things” actor Caleb McLaughlin and “King Richard” breakout Aunjanue Ellis.
In addition to directing, Daniels is writing the screenplay with David Coggeshall and Elijah Bynum. The film does not have a title or official logline yet, but it will be based on a true horror story. Day will reportedly play an Indiana mother who believes her child has become demonically possessed. McLaughlin is expected to play Day’s character’s son, and Morgan is portraying Day’s love interest. Spencer has been cast as a clergy member who attempts to help the family work through the paranormal activity and eventual exorcism.
The movie is expected to begin production sometime in 2022.
Daniels will serve as a producer with Pam Williams through his company Lee Daniels Entertainment, as well as Tucker Tooley via Tooley Entertainment.
After steering 2001’s drama “Monster’s Ball” to Oscar glory as a producer, Daniels made his directorial debut with 2005’s “Shadowboxer,” a crime thriller starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Mirren and Mo’Nique. He later adapted “Precious” based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, which landed six Academy Award nominations, including best director and picture. Daniels’ other credits include “The Butler,” a drama about an African American butler who served at the White House, the Fox TV series “Empire” and “Concrete Cowboy.”
Daniels most recently directed “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” which was set to be released in theaters by Paramount but eventually was sold to Hulu and debuted digitally during the pandemic. The movie generated mixed feedback, but Day, in the title role, was nominated for best actress at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.