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James Wan-Produced ‘Malignant’ Lands A Director

Did you know that filmmaker James Wan (Saw, Aquaman) co-created a comic book for Boom! Studios not long ago titled Malignant Man? Well, he did, and it is finally moving forward as a film project over at Fox. Wan is on board to produce through his company, Atomic Monster, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, the project has found its director: Rebecca Thomas. The “Stranger Things” helmer will take the steering wheel on the adaptation, which will now go by the shortened title Malignant.

The story focuses on Alex Gates, a patient dying of a terminal disease who is resigned to his fate … until it’s discovered that his malignant tumor is actually a mysterious alien parasite. Now imbued with some incredible powers and a renewed purpose, Gates is tasked with fighting a secret army lurking behind the veils of society while also peeling back his own secrets.

The screenplay has been penned by Zak Olkewicz (Lights Out, The Girl in the Dark), from the comics by Ross Richie, Stephen Christy, and James Wan. Richie and Christy are on board to produce the feature alongside Wan, as are Adam Yoelin and Matt Reilly. Director Rebecca Thomas replaces Brad Peyton, whose duties on the Dwayne Johnson-starrer Rampage have forced him to drop out of Malignant. Thomas previously directed the 2012 feature Electrick Children and has helmed episodes of “Sweet/Vicious” and the aforementioned “Stranger Things“. She is also currently attached to direct three other films: Gonzo Girl, Universal’s The Little Mermaid, and Paramount’s adaptation of John Green’s Looking for Alaska. This project appears to be happening first, however, although no production timeline has been revealed yet.

That premise above sounds like a classic David Cronenberg-style, body horror-filled sci-fi thriller tale to me. I’m all for more original features along the lines of Scanners, Videodrome, and eXistenZ, so count me in. While her episode of “Stranger Things” has yet to arrive, she clearly not only has the chops for this material, but is also great with pitches. The world needs more female directors, especially genre-loving ones, so this is an exciting development. More as it comes.
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