Ezra Claytan Daniels has been hired to pen a remake of Wes Craven’s “The People Under the Stairs” for Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw and Universal, The Wrap has learned.
The scribe behind genre-centric streaming shows like “Doom Patrol” and “Night Sky” and comics like “Upgrade Soul” will pen a remake of the 1991 original horror flick, which has accumulated a cult following since then both due to its quality and its ahead-of-its-time social topicality.
Written and directed by Craven, the original “The People Under the Stairs” concerned a young Black child (Brandon Adams) who breaks into the home of his family’s greedy landlords. Spoilers for the unaware, but he discovers incestuous adult siblings keeping young boys captive under the stairs of their large house.
As Dominic Griffin wrote last year in the Baltimore Beat, “‘The People Under the Stairs’ threads a very delicate needle through withering social commentary about stolen resources and the over-policing of marginalized communities.”
It certainly wasn’t unheard of for horror films to tackle of-the-moment issues related to politics or inequality, and this film debuted just a year before the original “Candyman.” But it did stand out as a somewhat rare mainstream studio flick featuring a young Black protagonist and an unsubtle look at how the haves benefit at the expense of the have-nots. Yeah, that certainly seems in Peele’s wheelhouse.
Daniels most recently contributed to Peele’s short story anthology, “Out There Screaming.”
The project marks the latest example of a classic ’90s era “social thriller” (decades before Peele’s Oscar-winning “Get Out” helped coin the term) existing within the realm of Black experience now being remade from the point of view of Black filmmakers. Nia DaCosta’s “Candyman” adaptation earned strong reviews and $77 million worldwide on a $25 million budget amid the COVID-impacted summer of 2021.
Daniels is represented by Paradigm Talent Agency, Aperture Entertainment and Nelson Davis LLP. Peele is represented by CAA and Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich & Gellman.
No director has yet been announced, and this feature — which Peele and Win Rosenfeld will produce — is still in early development. Peele’s Monkeypaw has two films set for theatrical release in 2024, an untitled horror flick set for Sept. 27 and Peele’s fourth directorial effort launching on Christmas Day.