A big screen adaptation of the ABC series that starred Ricardo Montalbán and ran from 1977 to 1984 on ABC, Fantasy Island will also star Michael Peña as Mr. Roarke, leading a cast now consisting of Charlotte McKinney (Baywatch), Parisa Fitz-Henley (Luke Cage) and Austin Stowell (12 Strong).
Jeff Wadlow, who directed and co-wrote Truth or Dare for Jason Blum’s typically horror-centric production arm, directs from a script he penned with Truth or Dare co-writers Jillian Jacobs and Chris Roach. Blumhouse co-finances with Sony, who have set a course for a February 28, 2020 release date.
Plot details are being kept under wraps.
Rooker, whose tenure as one-armed hillbilly Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead ended in 2013, most recently starred as Bud Melks in the James Gunn-scripted and produced horror-thriller The Belko Experiment before reprising his role as blue-skinned space pirate Yondu in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, again reuniting him with writer-director and close friend Gunn.
“Before The Walking Dead, a few of the jobs before that were just like, ‘Ugh.’ I try and make everything as creative as possible, even when I get the script and can’t imagine what I’m going to do with it. I was ecstatic when The Walking Dead came along. Merle Dixon was so perfectly adapted for me,” Rooker told Paste Magazine in 2017.
“My casting director friends — who I’ve known since Days of Thunder — called me about the role. They said, ‘Michael, I have this role that is absolutely written for you. It’s about this redneck, racist guy that I know you can play very well. He’s such a d—k that they cuff him to the rooftop. And he’s such a crazy mofo that he cuts his own hand off.’ The dude has the balls to cut his own hand off and walk away? That’s me! Where do I sign?0comments
“They pushed and stood up for me to get the role, even when other guys were considered for the part. Thank God I did it, because it was such a great, amazing boost for my career. The Walking Dead has truly been a dream come true for me. I’m still friends with all the people on the show, and it really does still feel like a family.”
Fantasy Island opens February 28, 2020.