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Orphan Prequel: Julia Stiles Compares Esther to Norman Bates


“The script was so dang good, I couldn’t put it down.”

As a genre diehard who’s always trying to bring more fans into the fold, it always thrills me to hear about a horror movie that draws in horror lovers and also those who typically don’t gravitate towards the genre. Based on what Julia Stiles had to say on a recent episode of Collider Ladies Night, it seems as though the upcoming Orphan prequel, Orphan: First Kill, will have that quality.

News of the project first broke in November of 2020 when filming was already underway. William Brent Bell stepped in to helm the film, which brings back Isabelle Fuhrman as Leena, a 33-year-old woman who posed as nine-year-old Esther Coleman in the 2009 original. The prequel reportedly covers what happens when Leena escapes from an Estonian psychiatric facility and makes her way to the United States by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. And now here’s where Stiles’ character comes in. In the US, Leena posing as “Esther” finds herself facing off against a mother (Stiles) who will do whatever’s necessary to protect here family.

Julia Stiles in Riviera

Image via Sundance Now

While on Collider Ladies Night promoting the Season 2 premiere of Riviera on Ovation TV, Stiles took a moment to highlight what compelled her to commit to Orphan: First Kill despite not being the biggest genre fan and also having concerns of returning to work during the pandemic:

“I do not watch horror movies and when I was sent the script for it I was like, ‘I don’t know. I’m not into that genre.’ And I was also really worried about going back to work after COVID. And the script was so dang good, I couldn’t put it down and I was so surprised by the twist that I’m not gonna give away that I think you’ll like it.”

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Isabelle Fuhrman in Orphan

Image via Warner Bros.

In an effort to get into more specifics, I asked Stiles what it is that this Orphan prequel has that appealed to her that many other horror films don’t. Here’s what she said:

“It’s incredibly psychological. I’m not really interested in blood and gore. I find it gross, but I don’t find it really scary. What I find scary is the stuff that happens up here. And Isabelle Fuhrman’s character, Esther – although she has multiple names, Leena, I don’t know – it’s just such a fascinating – especially now because she’s a grown-up. She’s 23 now playing the same part. It’s just such a fascinating sociopathic character, along the lines of why Norman Bates was so interesting to watch.”

Orphan: First Kill reportedly wrapped principal photography in December, so hopefully we’ll get word of an official release date soon, if not a first look at the film.

KEEP READING: Julia Stiles Explains How ‘Dexter’ Helped Pave the Way to ‘Riviera’


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