Scott Derrickson To Direct ‘Night Of The Hunter’ Adaptation For Universal

Scott Derrickson has been set to direct an adaptation of Davis Grubb’s classic 1953 novel The Night of the Hunter for Universal Pictures, working from his script written with C. Robert Cargill, his longtime collaborator on The Black Phone, Doctor Strange and other projects.

Peter Gethers will produce through his KramMar Delicious Mystery Productions, alongside Amy Pascal, whose Pascal Pictures has a first-look deal with the studio.

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The Night of the Hunter revolves around Harry Powell, a serial killer posing as a preacher, who marries a widow solely to gain access to her deceased husband’s hidden fortune. Powell’s stepchildren, John and Pearl, become the targets of his relentless pursuit as he seeks the money hidden by their father.

An instant bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award, The Night of the Hunter was the first of Grubb’s 10 novels. Previously, the book was adapted into a classic film, released by United Artists in 1955. Charles Laughton directed the influential work starring Robert Mitchum.

Currently, Derrickson and Cargill are in post on their next film, starring Miles Teller, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Sigourney Weaver, for Skydance and Apple. Next up, Derrickson reunites with Uni and Blumhouse on the sequel to his hit horror pic The Black Phone, starring Ethan Hawke, which grossed over $161M worldwide in 2021. Production on the follow-up kicks off this fall.

In addition to The Black Phone and Doctor Strange, Derrickson has helmed titles including Deliver Us from Evil, Sinister, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Additional credits on the producing front include Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and TNT’s Snowpiercer.

Derrickson’s co-writer on The Black Phone, Doctor Strange, and Sinister, Cargill also served as producer on the former title.

Derrickson and Cargill are represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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