Candyman Reboot Director Says Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Is Not Replacing Tony Todd

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Last month, the news broke that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was set to star in the upcoming Candyman reboot. But while it was initially thought that the Aquaman and The Get Down star was assuming the title role, subsequent reports cast doubt on the claim.

Sure enough, in a recent interview with Collider, director Nia DaCosta denied that Abdul-Mateen will be playing the killer once portrayed by Tony Todd:

“Well, it’s been slightly misreported. I can’t say what’s happening in the film because we want it to be a surprise, but he’s not replacing Tony Todd. That’s been reported, and I was just like, ‘I don’t know what to say about this. This is not right.’”

A few weeks ago, THR reported that Abdul-Mateen had instead been cast as an artist who becomes obsessed with the Candyman legend. From the sound of things, DaCosta isn’t ready to confirm the assertion, but one thing she is willing to discuss is her enthusiasm for author and filmmaker Clive Barker, who wrote the short story that served as the basis for the original 1992 Candyman:

“Oh, man, I love his work a lot, from Abarat to everything else. There’s so much specificity and dark whimsy in his work. Dark whimsy is not the right word, but there’s so much reality and truth in it, at the same time. Being able to take genre and expansive worlds and expansive people, and doing that as well as he’s done it, is a big thing. Also, there’s the weirdness of it that I think is really special, and how specific that weirdness is. That’s what I want to draw into our Candyman.”

Right now, little is known about the story of the next Candyman, which is being billed as a “spiritual sequel” to the first movie. Nonetheless, the project has already attracted a lot more interest than your average horror remake, partly because it’s being produced and co-written by Get Out helmsman Jordan Peele, who’s currently enjoying a fresh wave of acclaim with his second directorial feature Us. It also doesn’t hurt that Abdul-Mateen is being joined by If Beale Street Could Talk star Teyonah Parris, who’s reportedly set to play the art dealer girlfriend of Abdul-Mateen’s character

Beyond those two stars, however, casting details are in short supply, though it’s currently expected that Todd will not be reprising his role. If so, then we’ll find out how the next Candyman fares in his shoes when the reboot hits theaters on June 12th, 2020.