Lee Daniels

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — It’s taken several years and the subject matter is quite unusual, but a Lee Daniels project based on a true and highly unusual event is coming to Netflix. It’s a film about an exorcism involving a woman named Latoya Ammons. Daniels had sought a home for it, and last weekend there was a bidding auction when Netflix reportedly won for $65 million.

The project dates back to 2011, when Ammons, based in Gary, Indiana, claimed her children were being attacked and possessed by demons. Deadline reported on the project in 2014. Production will finally begin at the end of the year, Daniels is reuniting with sone of the cast members from his past film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” among them principal star Andra Day. She’ll portray Ammons in the as yet to be titled project. Others set to be in the cast include Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close, Rob Morgan, Caleb McLaughlin and Aunjanue Ellis. 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. 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. 

Ammons, a 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.”

After visiting the house and interviewing Ammons, the local police chief himself admitted that he was a “believer,” according to the Indianapolis Star. 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 the house. The story attracted plenty of national and international attention at the time.