orphan prequel Isabelle Fuhrman

Earlier in the year – back when we were all so naive and innocent – word broke that a prequel to Jaume Collet-Serra’s horror-thriller Orphan called Esther was in the works. That was weird enough news on its own, but now, it just got a little weirder. Because Isabelle Fuhrman, who played Esther in the first film, is returning. Why is that weird? Well, again: this is a prequel, and Esther was portrayed as a little girl in that film, while Fuhrman is now much older. Like I said: weird. On top of that, the movie is now called Orphan: First Kill, and Julia Styles is part of the cast as well.

Variety has the scoop on Isabelle Fuhrman returning for the Orphan prequel, revealing that Isabelle Fuhrman will be back as the evil Esther. In the original film, Esther was an Eastern European kid adopted by a couple played by Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga. And while everyone was quite smitten with Esther at first, Farmiga’s character began to grow suspicious of Esther’s behavior. And she was right to be suspicious, because – in the film’s whopper of a twist – it turns out that Esther isn’t a little girl at all. Instead, she’s a 30-something woman with hypopituitarism, a rare hormonal disorder that stunted her physical growth. Esther’s M.O. is to get adopted and seduce the father of the family – while killing everyone who gets in her way.

It’s a very silly movie, but it’s also immensely entertaining, and – like most Collet-Serra movies – stylish as hell. Which brings us to the prequel, now called Orphan: First Kill. Esther died at the end of Orphan, but prequels are a good way to get around character deaths. However, again – Esther looked like a child. So how the hell are they going to make a prequel movie where she’s presumably even younger, but played by an actress who is now older?

Deadline has an answer: “In order to help Fuhrman bring her character to life again, filmmakers are utilizing a combination of forced perspective shooting and a world-class makeup team.” Deadline also adds that Julia Styles is part of the cast. They also have a synopsis:

In Orphan: First Kill, written by David Coggeshall, Leena Klammer orchestrates a brilliant escape from an Estonian psychiatric facility and travels to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. But Leena’s new life as “Esther” comes with an unexpected wrinkle and pits her against a mother who will protect her family at any cost.

I loved the original Orphan, flaws and all, and I’m not against a prequel. However, I do wish Collet-Serra were coming back to give the film his signature style. Instead, William Brent Bell, director of The Boy, is at the helm.

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