Marvel Studios’ Blade is being unsheathed once more, this time with a whole new creative team.
Yann Demange, who directed the pilot of HBO’s boundary-pushing horror series Lovecraft Country, has come aboard to helm the vampire action thriller that still has Mahershala Ali attached to star.
Meanwhile, Michael Starrbury, who earned an Emmy nomination for penning an episode of Ava DuVernay’s drama, When They See Us, has been hired to pen a brand new script for the feature.
The new team puts the project back on track for after losing its original director, Bassam Tariq (Mogul Mowgli) in September. The parting of ways was due to creative differences and occurred as the project was in pre-production and heading towards a November production start in Atlanta.
Rather than jamming another director in something that clearly needed an overhaul, Marvel pressed pause for a deeper look under the hood. That meant a page one rewrite for the project, which had labored in the screenwriting phase. Ali was personally involved in selecting the writer, according to sources.
Details are being kept under wraps but sources say the new intent is for Blade to dark and gritty in tone, falling on the edgier side of Marvel fare and maybe even find common shading with the fondly-remembered Blade movies made in the early 2000s by New Line.
The plan is go into production in Atlanta in 2023, maintaining Blade’s release date that is set for Sept. 6, 2024
Blade was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan for 1973’s The Tomb of Dracula No. 10. He is a half-mortal, half-immortal who hunts vampires in order to avenge his mother, who was killed by a vampire as she gave birth to him. Wesley Snipes previously played the character in New Line’s trilogy.
Demange is a French-born, London-raised director who began in TV before segueing into features with dramatic thrillers ’71 and White Boy Rick. His work on Lovecraft Country set the dark and deep tone for the series, which tackled racial themes as well as a variety of horror scares while also giving a platform for stars Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett to trampoline to star status. He is currently developing a series take on David Cronenberg’s seminal horror movie, Scanners, for HBO, which he will direct and executive produce. He is repped by CAA and Goodman Genow.
Starrbury, who wrote the coming of age drama The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, has The Come Up in pre-production with Lil Rel Howery set to star. He is repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion.