Universal has dropped the first trailer for Candyman, a reimagining of the horror classic that’s produced by Jordan Peele and directed by Nia DaCosta.

The MGM film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Nathan Stewart-Jarret and Vanessa A. Williams. Scheduled for release on June 12, 2020, the film is set in “the now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood.” Abdul-Matteen portrays Anthony McCoy, a man who becomes obsessed with the bloody legend and Parris will play his girlfriend, Brianna Cartwright, who is an art dealer.

The official description reads: For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Mateen) and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Parris), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials. With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer (Domingo) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

In a special screening of the trailer Wednesday afternoon, Shadow And Act was one of the first outlets to get a first look at the film, including an introduction by Peele and a Q&A session with DaCosta.

The theme of gentrification will remain crucial in the new film. “Gentrification in our film is what helped us to reimagine the story, because Cabrini-Green is gone,” said DaCosta. “The movie in the ’90s has a vision of Cabrini-Green where its on its way to being knocked down. So going back there and seeing what’s happened around there…there is an ArcLight close to where Cabrini-Green used to be. There is a lot of development in that area [because] Cabrini-Green has been torn down, but Cabrini-Green itself has kind of been left untouched. What we do in our film is talk about the ghosts that are left behind…and that’s how we find our way into our reimagining of Candyman.”

She continued, “[Jordan] is so good at bringing social issues to the core in the [horror] genre. But the original Candyman also does that. What we were able to do, because of the years that have past…was dig into the themes that are already there. In the original film, they are talking about the new buildings that are being able to be built and the way products are built…and how crime was able to happen because of how poorly those buildings were made vs. the high rises that they made for the middle class. Also just the fun of the original film, that’s was a huge part of what we wanted to bring back. It’s great to talk about these things, but it’s a horror film after all. We also want to do what the original film did which was [to] be audacious and fun, but also meaningful.”

When asked about the depictions of violence and gore in the film, DaCosta said, “I really love gore. That’s something that Jordan I talked a lot about. Because what’s fun about working with Jordan is our horror aesthetics are different. Jordan is very brilliant at not showing everything, and my instincts are to do the exact opposite. There is a good amount of things you don’t want to see that I make you look at.”

While it has been heavily rumored that original Candyman star Tony Todd will be in the film, it hasn’t officially been confirmed. DaCosta remained coy when asked about Todd’s involvement in the film, as he doesn’t appear explicitly in the trailer. “I really love Tony Todd and he’s iconic. I will say what we’ve done with this film is….great,” she laughed. “Tony’s great. Jordan’s great. And I don’t want to give anything away.”



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Photo: Universal

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