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Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie to lead ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ reboot

‘Jacob’s Ladder’ reboot

Michael Ealy, left, Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie will star in the re-imagining of the 1990 psychological thriller “Jacob’s Ladder.”

(From left: Getty Images for WGN America / ABC / Los Angeles Times)

Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie will star in a reboot of the 1990 psychological thriller “Jacob’s Ladder.” 

The Adrian Lyne-directed original starred Tim Robbins, Danny Aiello and the late Elizabeth Peña and told the story of a Vietnam veteran whose time in war sparks bizarre, nightmarish hallucinations. 

Although a modest hit upon its 1990 release — it grossed $25 million at the box office — the film has gone on to reach cult status, influencing everything from the “Silent Hill” franchise and “The Sixth Sense” to “American Horror Story” and an episode of “The Simpsons.”

A remake of the twisted film has been in the works since 2013 through Mickey Liddell’s LD Entertainment.

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Producers previously said the new film would be “more akin to an homage and not mimic the original.” The new “Ladder” has been conceived as a modern-day paranoid action thriller about two brothers.

Ealy will executive produce and star in the titular role of Jacob. “Grey’s Anatomy” star and activist Williams will co-star as Jacob’s brother. 

“There was nothing like ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’ and there really hasn’t been anything since,” Williams told The Times on Tuesday.

Williams said the upcoming film is a total re-imagining of the cult classic. And he’s particularly excited the film will add to a genre that’s historically overlooked black actors in lead roles.

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“In the space of psychology thrillers, we are never really represented -- especially films showing black families,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to this.”

Beharie, who is currently making headlines for her “Sleepy Hollow” character’s shocking death, rounds out the lead cast. 

David Rosenthal, who directed Ealy in the 2015 thriller “The Perfect Guy,” is set to direct from a script written by Jeff Buhler and Sarah Thorp.

Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon and Jennifer Monroe at LD Entertainment will produce alongside Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta/Rosenzweig Films (Fright Night).

Will Packer will also produce via his Will Packer Productions banner, and WPP’s James F. Lopez will be executive producer. 

The film is expected to begin shooting next month.

Deadline first announced the casting of Williams and Beharie. 

gerrick.kennedy@latimes.com

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For more news follow me on Twitter: @gerrickkennedy


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