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Darby And The Dead - What We Know So Far

While it might not quite have reached the same level of success as other streaming platforms, Hulu still has a strong track record of releasing original films. The Disney-owned platform has been producing original movies since 2019, and producing them with 20th Century Studios and Searchlight since 2020 (via Deadline). This has given Hulu subscribers dozens of fiction and documentary films that span multiple genres. Many of these have fallen under the horror category, like 2022's "Hellraiser" or 2021's "False Positive." Others fill out the romantic comedy genre, like 2022's "Fire Island" or 2020's "Palm Springs."

However, Hulu hasn't made many ventures into the teen movie domain, with its one entry so far being 2022's "Sex Appeal." Now, Hulu is about to take another shot at teen movies with "Darby and the Dead." Described as a cross between "Mean Girls" and "The Sixth Sense," here's everything we know about the upcoming film (per Deadline).

What is the premiere date for Darby and the Dead?

As reported by Deadline, "Darby and the Dead" will premiere on December 2, 2022. In the United States, it will be available to stream exclusively on Hulu. In Latin America, it will be available on the Star+ network. In all other regions, it will be available on Disney+.

Here's a fuller picture of "Darby and the Dead's" production timeline. In October 2021, 20th Century Studios acquired the rights to the film, which then was a spec script titled "Darby Harper Wants You to Know." The two primary production companies are Footprint Features and A Seed & Wings. At that time, Storm Reid was announced in the lead role, although she has since exited the project (per Deadline).

Production began in December 2021 and the film was shot primarily in South Africa. Filming lasted until the following March (via Deadline). The aforementioned release date was announced in November, just about a month before the film's premiere.

What is the plot of Darby and the Dead?

We have a detailed plot summary from Laughing Place. The story begins when Darby Harper (Riele Downs) has a near-death experience, which grants her the ability to communicate with spirits from the other side. Soon, Darby becomes a spiritual medium, dedicated to helping her new spirit friends–while neglecting her friendships with her living friends. This makes her a social outcast. 

Then, the most popular girl in school, Capri (Auli'i' Cravalho), dies in a "freak hair straightening accident." Devastated that her "Sweet 17" party is now canceled, ghost-Capri enlists the help of Darby to convince their school friends to keep the party going. Naturally, having to throw a Sweet 17 party brings Darby out of her shell and helps her reconnect with the living. Of course, while all of this is happening, she still has her newfound "business" as a spiritual medium to attend to, which means helping various ghosts resolve their unfinished business so they can cross over to the afterlife. 

Who is in the cast of Darby and the Dead?

According to The Wrap, Riele Downs will be starring in "Darby and the Dead" as Darby Harper. She's been a fixture in children's television, and she previously had one of the lead roles in the Nickelodeon sitcom "Henry Danger." She's joined by Auli'i' Cravahlo, who will be playing Capri. You know the Hawaii-born Cravalho best for voicing the title character in "Moana." Rounding out the high school cast are Asher Angel ("Shazam"), Chosen Jacobs ("It"), Genneya Walton ("BlackAF"), and Derek Luke ("Captain America: The First Avenger"), although their characters haven't yet been announced.

As reported by Deadline, other cast members include Tony Danza ("Who's the Boss?"), Nicole Maines ("Supergirl"), and Wayne Knight ("Seinfeld"). Of them, only Knight's character has been announced. He'll be playing Mel, an affable specter who enjoys poker and needs Darby's help crossing over to the afterlife.

Who is writing, directing, and producing Darby and the Dead?

Also reported by Deadline, the original spec script, "Darby Harper Wants You to Know," was written by Wenonah Wilms and Becca Greene. Greene is also credited as the screenwriter. Before "Darby and the Dead," Wilms was most well-known for being the showrunner of "Fem 101," a web series about a teacher who tries to teach feminism to a crew of oddballs. Greene was previously a staff writer on "Good Vibes," the adult animated series about a bunch of beach bums that was co-created by David Gordon Green.

"Darby and the Dead" is directed by Silas Howard. His last feature-length directing credit was "A Kid Like Jake," a drama about parents discovering their son is transgender, and that starred Claire Daines and Jim Parsons. Howard has also directed several episodes of television, including helming nine episodes of "Dickinson."

A Seed & Wings founders Reid and Robyn Simpson are producing. On the Footprint Features side of things, Adam Saunders, Eddie Rubin and Mac Hendrickson are producing as well.