The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan will headline horror-thriller Shrine, produced by Spider-Man and The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi, Deadline reports. Adapted from James Herbert’s international bestseller of the same name, the story centers on “a disgraced journalist who discovers a series of seemingly divine miracles in a small New England town and uses them to resurrect his career, but the ‘miracles’ may have a much darker source.”
The project is set at Sony’s Screen Gems, the label behind the Carrie remake, Deliver Us from Evil, Slender Man and Brightburn. Raimi and Rob Tapert produce for Ghost House, which previously backed 2012’s The Possession; that supernatural horror also starred Morgan. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who penned Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and Sony’s upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot, scripts and makes his directorial debut on Shrine when production begins in February.
Morgan’s film appearances in recent years include action-thriller Heist, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the Dwayne Johnson-led monster blockbuster Rampage. Upcoming roles include Cal McCarthy in action-drama Walkaway Joe and Jacob Kanon in mystery drama The Postcard Killings, where Morgan portrays a detective investigating crimes similar in nature to his daughter’s murder.
Morgan will first return as Negan in The Walking Dead Season 10, where the once Savior leader struggles to find his place within the Alexandria community despite risking his life to save Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming), daughter of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), in Season 9. As Negan attempts to prove his rehabilitation has worked, he finds himself worrying he’ll be grouped in with new enemy threat the Whisperers.
“I think in the last, what, ten years or so, that he’s been in either a jail cell or sort of become on the outskirts of the Alexandria community. I think that there’s been changes within Negan,” Morgan said at San Diego Comic-Con in July. “It’s people like Judith [who] have brought out stuff in him, certainly, that the audience has gotten to see, but Negan is always Negan. He’s going to always have a sharp tongue. He may not be bashing a head with Lucille, but he will certainly stab you with some words.”
Though Negan has “changed a little bit” following his eight-year prison term, Morgan says he doesn’t consider Negan’s story in Season 10 a redemption arc.
“People want to say a redemption arc, I don’t know if it’s much of a redemption arc, because I think he’s always been who he is. We’ll see,” Morgan said. “I don’t think that he’s excited for Negan to be Negan, I think he’s going to be battling a bunch of things within himself this season.”
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD Season 10 intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.