Playwright Michael R. Jackson‘s star is on the rise in Hollywood. The Pulitzer Prize winner has already racked up an impressive list of theater accolades including two Obie Awards and two Drama Desk Awards. In 2018, The New York Times spotlighted him as one of the “Black Male Writers for our Time.” Now, he’s teaming with Ari Aster, the writer-director of Hereditary and Midsommar, for a horror film, which Aster will co-produce for A24.
Deadline reports that Jackson “has sold an original pitch to write an untitled horror feature for A24.” Aster and Lars Knudsen will serve as co-producers through their company, Square Peg, founded in 2019. Two of the best films that year, period, were Aster’s Midsommar and writer-director Jordan Peele’s Us. They may not have received any Oscar love, but at least Janelle Monáe (no stranger to horror herself) knew the score. Her opening musical number at the 92nd Academy Awards featured backup dancers in red Us jumpsuits and white Midsommar dresses.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that the prospect of seeing Aster team with a high-profile Black horror writer is an exciting one. No word yet on who the director for Jackson’s script will be. Deadline notes that the project is still in the early stages of development but that Jackson has become a highly sought-after screenwriter in recent months. He’s in demand and is also busy developing a musical, White Girl in Danger, “partially inspired by classic daytime soaps and ’90s-era Lifetime movies.”
Aster Will Head to Disappointment Blvd. with Joaquin Phoenix
According to IMDb, PalmStar Media produced Hereditary in association with Finch Entertainment and Windy Hill Pictures. A24 acted as the U.S. distributor just as it did with Midsommar, which it also co-produced alongside B-Reel Films, Nordisk Film, and Aster’s own aforementioned Square Peg imprint.
Hereditary and Midsommar both chased The Wicker Man, loosely following its 1973 subgenre model for horror films about secret cults and human sacrifice. The latter film saw Aster striking out on his own as a producer, but fans of his directorial work might be wondering what’s next for the auteur on that front?
If you missed it, we reported earlier this year that Aster will hit Disappointment Blvd. with none other than Joaquin Phoenix, for “an intimate, decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time.” Stay tuned to /Film for more on that project. We’ll also let you know more details regarding Jackson’s as-yet-untitled film with Aster’s Square Peg as soon as they become available.
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