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Tom Harper to direct Woman in Black follow-up

EXCLUSIVE: BAFTA-nominated Harper [pictured] will direct sequel to horror smash; plot to revolve around Eel Marsh House four decades after original, shoot likely next spring.

The Scouting Book for Boys and Misfits director Tom Harper is to direct The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, Hammer’s sequel to global horror smash The Woman in Black.

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According to the production, the horror will “continue the story four decades later”. This time around, after being seized by the government during World War II, the sudden arrival of a group of evacuated children [not soldiers, as had been speculated] at Eel Marsh House awakens its darkest inhabitant - The Woman in Black. 

The film will revolve around a young female nurse, which the production is out to cast on.

Speaking to Screen, Simon Oakes, vice-chairman of Exclusive Media and president & CEO of Hammer Films, finally put to bed the rumour that Daniel Radcliffe could have a part in the film. Oakes hopes the film will shoot in the UK next spring.

Jon Croker (Desert Dancer) has written the screenplay, which is based on an original story by The Woman in Black writer Susan Hill. 

As previously reported, the same production team behind the first film - Exclusive Media, Talisman, Cross Creek Pictures and Alliance Films, in addition to executive producer Roy Lee – are on board once again. CBS has first look on US distribution.

Alliance Films will co-finance and Tobin Armbrust of Exclusive will again oversee production. Sales are being handled by Exclusive and Alliance will again distribute in the UK (Momentum Pictures), Spain (Aurum Producciones) and Canada (Alliance Films).

On the subject of future films in the series, Oakes told Screen: “If you’re honest about the subject and material then it can become a franchise. If the story is legitimate, then yes. I have already got ideas about where we can go with it after this film and Susan Hill is willing and on board. There is life in this.”

The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe and directed by James Watkins, was the highest grossing British horror film of the past 20 years, making $35m in the UK and $130m worldwide.

Harper, who is currently directing anticipated BBC TV drama Peaky Blinders, said: “I am thrilled to be a part of The Woman in Black: Angel of Death. This will be a great opportunity for me to collaborate with a brilliantly talented team on the next installment in this exciting series.”

Oakes added on Harper: “We are assembling a terrific team to bring The Woman in Black: Angel of Death to the big screen and Tom is a great addition to that family. His unique visual approach and storytelling style perfectly compliments the smart, sophisticated horror movies that Hammer is championing.”

Xavier Marchand, Alliance Films’ president of worldwide distribution and managing director of UK distributor Momentum Pictures, said: “We know audiences in the UK and across the world love being terrified by The Woman in Black so we’re excited to be partners in bringing them the next episode of Susan Hill’s haunting story, under Tom’s expert direction.”

Harper is repped by Josh Varney at Independent Talent Group in the UK and by WME in the US.

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