Over the weekend, seven bidders waged a head-to-head auction battle for a star-studded exorcism movie package that was scored late last night by Netflix. The Lee Daniels directed film stars Andra Day, Octavia Spencer and more A-list talent.
An exclusive article from Deadline shared the news. The newly-acquired film will follow Day, who plays the mother of an Indiana family whose children allegedly became demonically possessed in a thriller inspired by real events. Alongside Day and Spencer, Glenn Close, Rob Morgan, Caleb McLaughlin and Aunjanue Ellis will star in the film.
The auction winning streaming platform is connected to several facets of this upcoming thriller, especially with its selected cast members. Stranger Things star McLaughlin starred in Concrete Cowboy. He will play the son of Day’s character, at an older age. Close, who stars in Netflix’s Don’t Look Up, will portray Day’s character’s mother. Morgan will play the boyfriend of Day’s character, and Spencer plays the clergy member who tries to help Day’s character navigate through the hauntings and the exorcisms.
The real case of Latoya Ammons and her three children was widely covered in the media at the time. The family detailed experiences of strange incidents occurring in their Gary, Indiana home that grew progressively worse over time. Instances with the children levitating and becoming violent with each other became the norm for the Ammons family. It was said that the children began speaking in growls and deep voices with no recollection afterward. The Gary Police Department, Department of Child Services and the local church and hospital all became involved, filing reports that took the supernatural occurrences seriously. Officers, doctors and social workers were confirmed as witnesses to many of the incidents, including one in which her 9 year old son walked backward up a wall. The Indianapolis Star covered it closely as the Department of Child Services continued to investigate the case.
The auction for the film escalated quickly and ultimately, came down to Netflix, MGM and Miramax. Sources told Deadline the film package closed at nearly $65 million, covering the film’s budget and buyouts. Daniels, Tucker Tooley and Pam Williams are onboard to produce.
According to Deadline, Ammons optioned her rights to Relativity when the story first became public in 2014. The movie never went into production and those rights eventually lapsed as Relativity plunged into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Executive producer Tooley, a former Relativity executive, acquired the lapsed rights after that, under his Tooley Entertainment banner. Dave Coggeshall and Elijah Bynum wrote drafts to prepare the film for its development. Daniels rewrote it himself, which is the final script buyers read leading to a massive bidding war. It uses the case to frame a fictional thriller, as done with popular films like The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, The Conjuring and other franchises said to be based on or inspired by actual events.
Daniels will be working on his fourth film with Tooley, who also produced his directing debut Shadowboxer and award-winning film The United States vs. Billie Holiday with Day. The dynamic duo also produced Concrete Cowboy.
The production is fast-tracked to begin by the middle of this year. Look out for more details regarding the upcoming thriller headed to Netflix.