orphan prequel

Orphan, Jaume Collet-Serra’s stylish horror thriller about an adopted child who turns out to be a murderous adult in disguise, is getting a prequel. William Brent Bell, director of The Boy and the upcoming Brahams: The Boy 2, is set to direct the pic, which is titled Esther. The movie will explore the origin story of the murderous faux-child.

THR is reporting that William Brent Bell will direct an Orphan prequel called Esther. Here are the details:

The new film tells the origin story of underaged psychopath Lena Klammer, the terrifying orphan of the original film. In the prequel, from a script written by David Coggeshall (Prey), Lena successfully escapes from a Russian psychiatric facility and makes it to America by impersonating “Esther,” the missing daughter of a wealthy family. But Lena’s daring escape pits her against a mother who will protect her family at any cost.

I’m a huge fan of 2009’s Orphan, which was stylish and nasty. The film also packed in one hell of a twist, revealing that the adopted Esther, played by Isabelle Fuhrman, was not the nine-year-old girl she was pretending to be, but actually a 33-year-old homicidal maniac patient suffering from hypopituitarism, which stunted her growth. Vera Farmiga played Esther’s adopted mother who learned the shocking truth.

The question is: How do you make a prequel work when everyone will already know the twist? The plot of the sequel, with Esther, AKA Lena, going up against “a mother who will protect her family at any cost” is pretty much the exact same plot, but now everyone will know exactly where the story is going. Another question: Who will play Esther? While the character doesn’t age, actress Isabelle Fuhrman does – which means she can no longer pass for a child as she did in the 2009 movie. And if the whole point of Esther as a character is that she doesn’t age and always looks the same, wouldn’t re-casting the part defeat the purpose?

On top of all of this, I’m most disappointed that Jaume Collet-Serra isn’t coming back. Collet-Serra just directed the upcoming expensive Disney pic Jungle Cruise, so he’s probably too big now to return to direct an Orphan prequel. But Collet-Serra’s hyper-stylized direction is one of the things that made Orphan so memorable. Still, Bell is a strong director as well. The Boy had a lot of gothic style to it, and perhaps that’ll work well for this prequel.

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