Juneteenth Message From ‘Candyman’ Director Nia DaCosta
Juneteenth is a day that has historically recognized the perseverance and power of the Black community. Over the last two years, taking time to recognize and reflect on this holiday has only gained added significance. Black art, and Black storytelling, in particular, provides audiences with the opportunity to see both the reality and the possibility of Black lives in America.
Candyman first appeared on film in Bernard Rose’s 1992 cult classic as a vengeful, mystical entity, a victim of a brutal hate crime who externalizes his pain in the same community that once turned against him. Nia DaCosta found inspiration to bring Candyman into a new age. As director of this year’s Candyman, she has created a film rooted in horror that reframes the Candyman legend with new urgency.
Produced by Jordan Peele, this film is an exciting, terrifying, entertaining, scary-as-hell horror film that also speaks to the movement and momentum of Black lives now.
In this piece, Nia DaCosta articulates her intentions for her film on the eve of Juneteenth:
For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his partner, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.
With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini-Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
Oscar® winner Jordan Peele unleashes a fresh take on the blood-chilling urban legend: Candyman. Filmmaker Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, upcoming Captain Marvel 2) directs this contemporary incarnation of the cult classic.