Filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu, whose upcoming genre movie Nanny won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, making her just the second Black woman to win that award, has been tapped to direct a new film in the Night of the Living Dead franchise.
George A. Romero directed the original 1968 movie, which is considered the granddaddy of all zombie movies and went on to become one of the most successful independent films of all time. It’s unclear what the connection will be between that film and Jusu’s entry, but that’ll be up to screenwriter LaToya Morgan to figure out. She knows her way around the genre, having served as a writer-producer on The Walking Dead.
Deadline broke the news, and Jusu told the trade why she thinks Romero’s original still resonates today.
“Every era has the zombie that it needs and right now, zombies reflect the ways that humans treat each other and show us who is truly the monster,” explained Jusu.
“I’m beyond thrilled to be playing in the sandbox that George Romero built and ecstatic to raise the stakes and push the envelope with this exciting new story,” Morgan told Deadline, calling the original “one of the great cornerstones of the horror genre.”
The untitled project is a co-production between Village Roadshow Pictures, Origin Story, Roy Lee‘s Vertigo Films, Westbrook Studios, and Sanibel Films, the latter of which Romero’s company run by his widow, Christine Romero, who will have a creative voice in the movie.
“I am so excited by this visionary team of storytellers that have come together to expand on the premise of the original film. Revisiting the world that George and his collaborators created is going to be a treat for fans,” said Christine Romero. “George would have been so happy to see this happen!
Execs overseeing development and production include Village Roadshow’s Jillian Apfelbaum and Tristen Tuckfeld, Origin Story’s Ryan Silbert, Vertigo’s Andrew Childs, and Westbrook’s Jon Mone and Ryan Shimazaki. Village Roadshow and CAA are co-repping U.S. rights, while FilmNation is shopping international rights and will introduce the project to buyers at AFM next week.
Nanny hits theaters on Nov. 23 before streaming on Prime Video on Dec. 16. I haven’t seen the film yet, so I can’t say whether Jusu is the right fit for this franchise or not, though she’s certainly on the rise. Jusu is represented by CAA, which also reps Vertigo, Westbrook, and Origin Story.
Meanwhile, Morgan co-created HBO Max’s upcoming crime series Duster with J.J. Abrams, and she also serves as its showrunner. She’s repped by Eclipse Law.