Newcomer Vanessa Grasse Lands Leatherface Lead

vanessa grasse

Leatherface’s first victim revealed? Newcomer Vanessa Grasse has just landed the female lead in Millenium Films’ Texas Chainsaw prequel Leatherface, TheWrap is reporting.

She’ll play Lizzy, a young nurse at a mental hospital who is kidnapped by a group of deranged teenage patients. Trapped with young sadists only starting to embrace their capacity for evil, she finds herself on a road trip from hell with her only hope being an obsessed lawman (Stephen Dorff) with an axe to grind. Little do any of them know that, during the chase, one of the teens’ minds will be warped and disfigured into the terrifying figure known as Leatherface.

Grasse, out of the University of Leeds’ theater program, won the role because of her naturalistic audition and sense of innocence, beating out over 90 young actresses in and outside the U.S. after a grueling casting search. She’ll be joined in the film by The Conjuring actress Lili Taylor as Verne Sawyer, Sam Coleman as Bud, Sam Strike as Jackson, James Bloor as Ike and Jessica Madsen as Clarice.

It’s believed that either Strike or Bloor’s characters will evolve into Leatherface, but the studio is keeping that plot point under lock and key. French filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside) are directing from a script by Seth M. Sherwood.

Leatherface is a pivotal pic for Millenium Films, which has been trying to reignite public interest in the veteran Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise for years. 2013’s Texas Chainsaw 3-D didn’t do as well as producers had hoped, and reviews were poor, leading the studio to go back to the drawing board with the character and figure out how best to reintroduce the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface to mass audiences.

Whether a prequel is the right approach to take, only time will tell. Leatherface is kicking off production May 18.