Hot off the Sundance standout Mudbound, two-time Emmy nominee and DGA Award winner Dee Rees is set to write and direct an untitled horror movie for Blumhouse, the Tracking Board has confirmed.
Blum will produce Rees’ movie, which is “centered on the domestic lives of black lesbians in rural America.”
The project stems from a chance meeting between Blum and Rees at a Bel Air mansion where they were speaking to a group of Sundance Institute supporters. It turns out that Blum saw Rees’ upcoming drama Mudbound at Sundance and was a big fan, calling it “one of the most powerful movies.” Likewise, Rees was a fan of Get Out, and thanked Blum for making that film, which started an interesting cultural conversation about race in America.
After huddling up in a corner together, Blum discovered that Rees was a serious horror buff, while Rees learned that Blumhouse had just produced two of her recent genre favorites, Hush and Creep. The director told Blum she had her own idea for a low-budget horror movie set in one location with a tiny cast, inspired by her and her wife’s own experiences when they first moved into their new home in a small town. Rees said they felt like “a ghost, or maybe some other force” didn’t want them to be there, let alone fitting in with their neighbors.
Blum said the prospect of working with Rees “almost makes me nervous,” but in the end, he was “in” for “anything you want to do.”
Now, for most people in Hollywood, that encounter wouldn’t really lead to anything, but Blum isn’t your typical producer. He hustles, and prefers to walk the walk rather than talk the talk. In true Blum fashion, he wasted no time in circling back with Rees to set up a lunch, where they managed to strike a development deal.
“I can’t tell you how rare it is that people mean what they say in this business. He’s just letting me make the best possible version of what I want to make,” Rees told the Times, though it’s obviously still very early in the development process.
For now, Rees is eager to watch Mudbound find an audience, which shouldn’t be a problem seeing as it was acquired at Sundance by Netflix, which boasts nearly 100 million subscribers worldwide. The streaming service is expected to give the film a major awards push this fall. Rees, who previously wrote and directed the indie film Pariah and the acclaimed HBO movie Bessie, is represented by WME and attorney Victoria S. Cook.
Blumhouse’s upcoming releases include Insidious: Chapter 4, Creep 2 and a remake of the beloved family film Benji that is off-brand for the ever-ambitious company, which is also producing the eight-episode drama series Sharp Objects for HBO.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief