Berlin: William Brent Bell to Direct 'Orphan' Prequel 'Esther'

M Pozzan
William Brent Bell

Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales on the project, which Entertainment One and Dark Castle will produce.

William Brent Bell, the helmer of such horror films as The Boy, The Devil Inside and Wer, has come on board to direct Esther, the prequel to 2009 hit Orphan.

The new film tells the origin story of underaged psychopath Lena Klammer, the terrifying orphan of the original film. In the prequel, from a script written by David Coggeshall (Prey), Lena successfully escapes from a Russian psychiatric facility and makes it to America by impersonating "Esther," the missing daughter of a wealthy family. But Lena’s daring escape pits her against a mother who will protect her family at any cost.

The original Orphan, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, grossed close to $80 million worldwide.

Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales on Esther and will shop the film to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Dark Castle Entertainment’s Alex Mace, Hal Sadoff and Ethan Erwin will produce with James Tomlinson. David Leslie Johnson will serve as an executive producer and Jen Gorton and Josie Liang will oversee for eOne. Shooting is set to start in the third quarter of this year.

Bell's Brahms: The Boy II, the sequel to his 2016 chiller about an evil doll, opens Friday in the U.S. via STX Entertainment. He is currently in post on his next feature, Separation, a Brooklyn-set supernatural thriller starring Rupert Friend and Brian Cox.

Bell is represented by ICM Partners and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. Coggeshall is represented by Writ Large and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.