‘Orphan: First Kill’ Star Isabelle Fuhrman Says Prequel Makes Movie History and “People Will Be Shocked”


In a recent interview with Collider, Orphan: First Kill star Isabelle Fuhrman said that “people will be shocked” by the horror prequel, in which she claims to make movie history as the first adult actress to reprise a leading role that she first played as a child.

Fuhrman first played the diabolical “Esther” in Jaume Collet-Serra‘s Orphan, which was a surprise hit for Warner Bros. back in 2009. The film grossed nearly $80 million worldwide and led to Fuhrman’s casting in The Hunger Games. She spoke to Collider while promoting her new indie drama The Novice, in which she plays a collegiate rower, at the Tribeca Film Festival.


Fuhrman promised that Orphan: First Kill is “definitely not what I think most people will expect, which I think is really exciting and what really drew me to even coming back to play that role. And also, what I think is most exciting about it is it’s something that’s never been done cinematically. There’s never been an adult actress who reprised a role she played as child. And that was exceptionally difficult and really fun to do, because when I was a kid and I played Esther, I was constantly playing a 33-year-old hiding herself as a kid while I was also 10, and this time, it was like, ‘here’s a little weight off my shoulders,’ since I just have to pretend I’m 10, because I’m already an adult.”

Isabelle Fuhrman in Orphan
Image via Warner Bros.

Fuhrman knows that millions of moviegoers associate her with the role of Esther, and she has embraced the attention from genre fans, even as she continues to spread her wings as an actress, having recently starred in the Showtime series Masters of Sex.

“It was really cool to be back on that [Orphan] set. I think people will be shocked by that story. It’s very different from what most people would expect and Julia [Stiles] is absolutely incredible in it, and we had a lot of fun making the movie together. It’s definitely a story about the two of us and our relationship, and Esther’s way that she came to the United States and how she found herself there,” explained Fuhrman.


William Brent Bell (The Boy) directed from a script by David Coggeshall, and the story finds Fuhrman’s villain orchestrating a brilliant escape from an Estonian psychiatric facility and traveling to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. As she slips into life as “Esther,” an unexpected wrinkle arises that pits her against a mother (Stiles) who will protect her family at any cost.

Image via Showtime

RELATED: Julia Stiles Teases Upcoming ‘Orphan’ Prequel and Esther’s Norman Bates-Level Intrigue

Stiles previously told Collider that “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… 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… [She’s just such a fascinating, sociopathic character, along the lines of why Norman Bates was so interesting to watch.”


Orphan: First Kill was produced by Dark Castle’s Alex Mace, Hal Sadoff and Ethan Erwin as well as James Tomlinson, while original Orphan scribe David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick executive produced alongside Jen Gorton. And since Fuhrman served as an associate producer on Orphan: First Kill, I felt comfortable asking her about a potential release date for the prequel.

“They’re saying very soon. We’re very, very excited about it,” said Fuhrman, who had other things on her mind regarding the prequel. “It’s just very trippy, because seeing things and seeing myself as a kid again is very, very trippy, so I’ve been coping with that and they’ve been handling that sort of [release date] stuff. I’m just like, ‘this is so wild! How did we do this?’ Actually, The Novice helped me prepare for that movie because I spent the majority of [Orphan: First Kill] squatting since I had to walk around in a squat because I’m, you know, taller than the average 10-year-old.

Image via Tribeca Film Festival

So there you have it, folks. There’s no word on the release date for Orphan: First Kill beyond “very soon,” though it’s worth pointing out that the original Orphan came out in late July, so it wouldn’t shock me if this prequel was dated for late July/early August — before Universal unveils Candyman (Aug. 27) and Halloween Kills (Oct. 15).


I had a blast with the outlandish twists and turns of Orphan, and though I’m a little disappointed that Collet-Serra doesn’t appear to be involved in this prequel, I can’t wait to see how Bell and his world-class makeup team make Fuhrman look the same despite having aged 11 years since the first film. No matter how she looks, you and I already know that Leena/Esther isn’t at all what she appears to be.

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