New Hellraiser Finds Its Star

The new Hellraiser movie has just taken a big step forward as it's found its lead actress. First reported by The Illuminerdi, and since confirmed by Bloody Disgusting, comes the news that Grand Army and Let’s Scare Julie actress Odessa A’zion has been tapped for the lead role of “Riley” in the new film. A’zion marks the first cast member added to the new film which has The Night House director David Bruckner and writers Ben Collins & Luke Piotrowski attached to the project. It was previously reported that Spyglass Media had made a deal for the new film to be a Hulu exclusive.

In addition to A'zion's casting, The Illuminerdi reported that the filmmakers behind the new project were "looking for a female lead to play a gender-swapped Pinhead in a reinvention of the classic antagonist." It's unclear who might fill that role but in a world where Doug Bradley's iconic performance of the character has become a cultural mainstay and defining aspect of the franchise to date. With ten Hellraiser films released from 1987 to 2018, Bradley played the character in eight of those films and become a cult figure in the horror fan community.

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(Photo: NETFLIX)

It's worth noting once again that the new Hellraiser movie has a bit of a ticking clock hanging over it to begin filming and get released. Back in December of 2020 it was revealed that author Clive Barker, whose novella "The Hellbound Heart" is the basis for the Hellraiser series, has successfully won a major copyright case regarding the franchise. Barker filed a notice of termination and was granted won, giving him back the US rights back to his novella and the rights to the screenplay for the original Hellraiser movie.

Barker won't have the rights back fully until December 19, 2021, meaning that the feature film has until the end of the year to get their film done. Once Barker regains the rights, any new version of the material that would be made would need to go through him and have his involvement.

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In addition to the new Hellraiser movie, a television series based on the show is also in the works. Halloween (2018) director David Gordon Green os set to helm the pilot and other episodes in the first season which is in the works at HBO. The new series will be written by Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Gallactica, Daredevil, Heroes) and Michael Dougherty (X-Men United, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Trick r’ Treat).

It's still unclear what the time frame is on these projects' release but Barker is involved in the new TV series, previously writing in a statement that he was “delighted the Hellraiser mythology is seeing a new life. It’s time the stories went back to their roots. I’m eager to bring to a new audience the most powerful and ancient elements of horror: the darkest evil invading our human lives and how we must find in ourselves the power to resist it.”