The forthcoming Hulu remake of the first Hellraiser movie finally has its Pinhead, with the iconic role being taken by Jamie Clayton, perhaps best known for her role as Nomi Marks in Netflix’s Sense8, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Officially known as “the Hell Priest” and “the Cold Man” in Clive Barker’s parent novel series, the character is iconic in sci-fi/horror. Pinhead is one of the leaders of the Cenobites, a race of extra-dimensional beings who cannot distinguish between pain and pleasure, being heavily into sadomasochism.
Initially portrayed by Doug Bradley in the original film series, Pinhead will be played in the new film by trans actress Jamie Clayton, making the film a landmark for trans representation.
The potential for the role being “gender-swapped” away from Bradley had already been controversial when Elizabeth Debecki (Tenet, The Crown) was linked to the part. However, it is in keeping with Barker’s original novels where the Cenobites are beyond gender. Pinhead is stated as an undeterminable gender but with feminine characteristics, a massive difference from the movies where Pinhead is never anything but male.
Alongside Clayton, the new Hellraiser will feature Odessa A’zion as Riley alongside Brandon Flynn, Goran Visnjic, Drew Darkey, Adam Faison, Aoife Hinds, Hiam Abbass, and Selina Lo. The movie will be directed by David Bruckner and written by Clive Barker, Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski, and David S. Goyer.
I will say that we went back to the original novella for the source material; we’re really honoring Clive [Barker’s] work. I can say that [director] David Bruckner is a genius. It’s filming right now. The footage is terrifying and amazing, and the Cenobites are jaw-dropping.
Initially released in 1987, the first Hellraiser movie focused on a mystical puzzle box that summons the Cenobites. The controversial film spawned three more theater releases and six straight to video productions, with public and fan reactions ranging from positive to highly negative.
The Hellraiser remake has been in the works since 2006 when Barker announced that he was working on a new script, with Pascal Laugier in the frame to direct. Producers wanted the movie to target a teenage audience, causing a rift with Laugier. The production subsequently entered production hell with Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer added to the project, with both eventually dropped by 2011.
In 2013, Barker himself was said to be directing and writing the remake, with news slowly fading away until 2018, when it was said that Miramax Films were willing to move ahead thanks to the refound success of the Halloween franchise. Finally, in 2019, Spyglass Media Group announced they would be handling the film.
The forthcoming remake is expected to adhere closely to the original novel on which the movie was based, Barker’s The Hellbound Heart. The original adaptation featured the cenobites in far more explicit terms, and beyond changes to the book, several scenes were cut from the film itself. These included consecutive hammer blows, fingers entering flesh, and S&M spanking. While back in 1987, such things would have stopped the movie being theatrically released, it remains to be seen how controversial they’ll be when the reboot is released on Hulu next year.