A few months ago found us relaying how producer Guillermo del Toro had pegged Wendigo and The Last Winter writer/director Larry Fessenden as the director of the American remake of The Orphanage. A few months after that, however, the horror community got word that Fessenden was, despite spending two years massaging the script back and forth with del Toro, parting ways with the project, citing a divergence in casting desires as the reason. And now that a little more time has passed, Variety is reporting that the remake of the Spanish spook house has a new director in the form of Mark Pellington.
Genre aficionados will, of course, recognize Pellington as the man who pitted Richard Gere against a spectral doomsayer in The Mothman Prophecies. That makes this, for me, great news. I'm rather fond of The Mothman Prophecies; which is a statement not a lot of people seem to be on board with, but I'm okay with that. I still find it to be a tightly paced, captivating thriller that swells with tension as its prophecies of death resolve into reality. So if anyone is going to attempt to recreate the scene in The Orphanage that finds a psychic medium wandering sightless through haunted corridors, I'm actually happy it's the man who delivered the creepy-as-hell phone call between Gere and the Mothman -- because even if you think TMP is boring, you have got to admit that phone call made the hairs on the back of your neck tingle.
Larry Fessenden's script appears to be the one del Toro and New Line have decided to shoot from, though no start date or cast is set. I'd personally campaign for someone like Maria Bello as the American match to the original's Belen Rueda, but one can assume that if Fesseden left over a casting disagreement, the studio was probably looking to cast a bit younger. Either way, considering the studio has been slowly developing the film since '07, it likely won't be much longer before news begins to drip out on that end, as well.