Why ‘Candyman’ Director Nia DaCosta Is Relieved the Film Wasn’t Released During BLM Protests

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in the delay of many movies. Titles from 2020 studio slates are finally seeing the light of day. Universal Pictures and MGM’s Candyman was one of the most highly-anticipated movies of last year, but the need to delay it was clear in the face of the pandemic. As a result, the release date was pushed three times from its original June 2020 release date. Director Nia DaCosta is glad that the horror film didn’t come out when it was initially intended to.

‘Candyman’ in 2021

The project went through several iterations before co-writer/producer Jordan Peele signed on. DaCosta’s Candyman follows the 1992 original, ignoring the continuity of the other sequels.

Candyman follows Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who’s a young visual artist. He learns about the story of the Candyman and the history of Cabrini Green. Moreover, Anthony becomes inspired to create an art series around the mythos. If you say “Candyman” in the mirror five times, he will appear and kill you. However, the artist becomes obsessed with his subject, causing him to question all that he knows.

Critics positively responded to the film and its social message. Despite the original coming out in 1992, the story’s commentary remains relevant today.

Nia DaCosta is relieved the film didn’t come out in June 2020

'Candyman' director Nia DaCosta smiling on the Pink Carpet
Nia DaCosta | Rachel Murray/Getty Images

DaCosta sat down for an interview with The Guardian to discuss her horror film. She talked about her creative process, as well as the hardships that she endured while making the project. However, she also expressed how much of a joy it was to work with Peele.

June 2020 wasn’t only the initial Candyman release date, but also the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. DaCosta was relieved that the film wasn’t being released at the same time. “I would have hated getting the question, ‘Isn’t it so timely right now, with all these deaths going on?,’ DaCosta said. “That’s not why we made it.”

The Candyman director marched in the BLM marches herself, noting that this isn’t a one-time deal. She continued: “But I think it will happen again – a summer like last summer. I think that the story we’re telling was about that: the fact that it’s cyclical. It could come out next year, it could come out any time and still be relevant.”

The discussions of ‘Candyman’

Candyman is generating conversations around more than just the film itself. It has a powerful sense of social commentary behind the blood splatter. In fact, the horror behind the title antagonist is injustice, racism, and hatred.

DaCosta was clear that she didn’t want to answer questions about how the movie relates to some of the recent events. However, that hasn’t stopped comparisons from being made online. These discussions would have likely been more concentrated if the movie was released in June 2020.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s The Marvels has brought DaCosta on board to direct. She’s excited for the opportunity to make a film without racial commentary. DaCosta said, “I genuinely can just make a movie that doesn’t have to traffic in Black pain. And I feel like a lot of black film-makers are asked to or expected to do that.”

Candyman can be seen exclusively in theaters beginning on Aug. 27.

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