'Candyman' Featurette: A Look at the Patron Saint of Urban Legends
Candyman. Candyman. Cand-
Just kidding. I’m as ready for Nia DaCosta‘s upcoming Candyman movie as anyone, but I’m not that desperate. Besides, Universal just released a new featurette about the new movie, which arrives later this month.
The Patron Saint of Urban Legends
We’ve already seen a clip of star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II trying to summon the titular terrifier, but this new featurette gives us some more info about invoking him behind-the-scenes.
“I’ve always been fascinated with urban legends,” says producer Jordan Peele. “Candyman is the patron saint of the urban legend.”
While Candyman‘s origins derive from a Clive Barker short story and its 1992 movie adaptation, many people growing up in that era remember him as simply an urban legend. If you say his name five times, he comes out of the mirror and kills you with his hook hand. While the legends began in urban areas, they eventually spread far enough that even kids in the middle of nowhere were challenging their siblings to say his name. (Kudos to anyone who actually made it to five, because I never did.)
“Candyman was a real sort of urban legend when I was growing up, it wasn’t just attached to the movie,” director Nia DaCosta says. “For us, Candyman was some kind of demon ghost man killing people in the Projects.”
Bringing the Black Perspective
Even though Candyman has a lot of universal themes, there are aspects of the character that require a Black perspective. This reboot/sequel to the 1992 film returns to Chicago’s Cabrini Green housing project, which has now been made into upper-class, gentrified apartments and condos. Commenting on that while staying true to the themes of the original film required careful attention.
“We didn’t have a Black Freddy. We didn’t have a Black Jason,” Peele explains in the featurette. “It was important that this Candyman be told from the Black perspective.”
DaCosta, who has been frank about the politically-charged themes of the movie, felt that it was important to tell the story of Candyman because it’s always timely. Though the situation in Cabrini Green has changed, the issues facing Black Americans have not.
“Candyman is so perennial,” she says. “We’re talking about the cycles of violence and how history repeats itself and how we collectively process trauma through stories. It’s always a time to tell a story like Candyman, which is the big tragedy of the tale in the first place. ”
Candyman will premiere in theaters on August 27, 2021.
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