After gestating for years, the Latoya Ammons exorcism movie that Lee Daniels has been working on has materialized.
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In a highly-competitive bidding auction over the weekend, Netflix beat out multiple buyers for the untitled project, winning it for $65 million.
The film will see Daniels reunite with his The United States vs Billie Holiday star Andra Day, who will lead the film as character based on Ammons alongside Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close, Rob Morgan, Caleb McLaughlin and Aunjanue Ellis.
According to Deadline in the exclusive report, the film has been fast-tracked and will begin production at the end of this year. Daniels is producing with Tucker Tooley and Pam Williams. Drafts were written by Dave Coggeshall and Elijah Bynum, with Daniels rewriting for the most recent version.
The project has long been in the works
We last reported on the film around 2014. It is inspired by the story of Gary, Indiana-based Ammons who, in 2011, claimed that her children were being attacked and possessed by demons.
Relativity Media was initially the studio behind it and Ammons optioned her rights. Daniels collaborator Tooley then retrieved the rights after Relativity went into bankruptcy. Now,
Zak Bagans of Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures,” filmed an episode at “The Demon House” as it was called, which is the Gary house in 2014.
The mother of three told police that she witnessed her children walking up walls, levitating and speaking in different voices. She further claimed that she once found her seven-year-old son inside a closet talking to another boy only he could see. When she asked what they were talking about, Ammons claimed that he told her the unseen presence was describing what it felt like to be killed. The young boy was also reportedly thrown by a “malevolent spirit” out of a bathroom, and her 12-year-old daughter required stitches to her head after an attack.
When two psychics later visited the terrified mother, they told her there were more than 200 demons haunting the house. Even official reports from a 2012 document on paranormal activity within the house supported Ammons’ claims, as psychologists stated on-the-record that they witnessed her 9 year-old speak in “different voices” and walk “up the wall backwards.”
More on the real-life story:
State documents filed by the Department of Children Services detailed further strange events at the house, which were said to have been witnessed by medical experts and people outside the family.
The family would eventually move out of their house. The Gary home would eventually be demolished. Bagans had the purported “demon house” destroyed.
“Something was inside that house that had the ability to do things that I have never seen before — things that others carrying the highest forms of credibility couldn’t explain either,” he told the Indianapolis Star. “There was something there that was very dark yet highly intelligent and powerful.”