Millenium Films has found a new Leatherface. Multiple sources close to the studio’s planned Texas Chainsaw prequel, simply called Leatherface, confirm that EastEnders actor Sam Strike is in negotiations to pick up the iconic mask and chainsaw.
After the studio’s last attempt to revitalize the classic horror franchise, 2013’s Texas Chainsaw 3D, was met with paltry reviews that caused it to sink like a stone at the box office, Leatherface finds Millenium hitting the reset button. The prequel will go back to the 1970s to focus on the early years of Jackson (Strike), the young man who will eventually become a masked killer. Strike’s casting, which comes after an extensive search, is major news – the studio is banking on his performance to endear the franchise to a new generation of horror fans.
French filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, who made the terrific Inside, have been tasked with directing Leatherface. They’ll be working from a script by Seth M. Sherwood, an up-and-comer whose 2012 script “Interstate 5” landed on the Blood List for most-liked but unproduced horror screenplays. That’s an intriguing trio working behind the scenes, and now that Strike has entered the fray, we’re getting a promising picture of what might be ahead for the Texas Chainsaw franchise.
Carl Mazzocone, Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman, all of whom were involved in resuscitating the franchise for the 2013 reboot, are on board as producers alongside Les Weldon. Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, Mark Gill and Beth Bruckner O’Brien will all serve as executive-producers on the project, which is a priority for Millenium.
Is a prequel the best way forward for the Texas Chainsaw franchise, though? Leatherface’s unknown past is part of what made him such an effective horror antagonist in previous entries, and demystifying him might not yield the terrifying results Millenium wants. On the other hand, though, A&E’s Bates Motel, which tells the origin story of Psycho Norman Bates, has proven an unnerving and often scary watch. If Maury and Bustillo can strike a similar tone with Leatherface, winding back the clock could turn out to be exactly the boost this suffering franchise needs. Only time will tell.