Guillermo del Toro’s Antlers Said To Be Inspired By Halloween And The Exorcist

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Having captured an Academy Award in the Best Achievement in Directing and Best Motion Picture categories earlier this year for his passion project, The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro isn’t interested in spending any time away from the world of cinema.

Recently acquired by Fox Searchlight, Antlers, written by Henry Chaisson and Channel Zero creator Nick Antosca, will see the director serve as a producer. It didn’t take long for del Toro to make his presence felt, either, appointing Black Mass and Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper to helm the supernatural horror.

In a recent sit-down with Collider, Cooper revealed that the project is inspired by a pair of the genre’s staples, John Carpenter’s Halloween and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist.

“Well I’m currently developing Antlers. I’m working with the writers now before I start writing on it, but I’m in the process of really developing that with Guillermo and it’s been a lot of fun, and very different for me.”

“I was so influenced early on by the work of John Carpenter, like Halloween, or certainly The Exorcist which is a favourite of mine, or even Tarkovsky’s Stalker. So I’m able to bring all of that into one film which is exciting.”

Having never officially worked in the horror genre, the Hostiles director divulged it was this very reason del Toro brought him aboard.

“[Guillermo] said I’ve obviously never seen you direct a horror film, but there’s a lot of horrific moments in your movies, so I’m more interested in someone who doesn’t work in that genre to step into it. Which is I guess a bit like Friedkin in a sense, having not directed in that genre before he took on The Exorcist.

So I find that exciting, I’ve made my musical of sorts and my personal film with Out of the Furnace and my anti-gangster gangster movie, and then the Western… [Guillermo is] fantastic and so supportive and wildly imaginative, so it’s really been a great collaboration. I’m very fortunate that he asked me to do this.”

Scott Cooper started his movie career as an actor and pursued the craft for over a decade before making the switch to director in 2009. His feature debut behind the camera, Crazy Heart, which he also wrote and produced, garnered three Academy Award nominations and two wins, including earning Jeff Bridges his only Oscar win for his performance as Bad Blake. Since the film’s release, Cooper has struggled to find the same level of critical success but did manage to reinstall quality into the career of Johnny Depp with his film, Black Mass.

Antlers, which should begin the casting process later this year, follows a fourth-grade teacher who’s discovered a nightmarish secret troubling a boy in her class. “Something terrifying is coming for the boy, and she has to protect him,” reads the synopsis. Beyond that, details are scarce, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted as more develops.

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