Paul Verhoeven, Ted Melfi, & Alexandre Aja Set New Projects

Three directors who couldn't be more different are locking down their next projects, and all are worth keeping an eye on.

The always controversial Paul Verhoeven is looking to follow-up the polarizing Elle with Blessed Virgin, which promises to get stuffy critics all worked up. Starring Elle co-star Virginie Efira, the film centers on Sister Benedetta Carlini, a 17th-century lesbian nun and Catholic mystic. For a time she was hailed as a visionary, but was eventually imprisoned for 35 years for homosexuality and other dubious crimes. A story combining sex AND religion? It's almost like it was made special for Verhoeven.  Just tell me there's a role in there for Isabelle Huppert. Historian Judith C. Brown's book Immodest Acts: The Life Of A Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy will serve as the basis. [Deadline]

Hidden Figures director and Going in Style writer Ted Melfi is going to have an El Camino Christmas at Netflix. David E. Talbert (Almost Christmas) will direct the holiday film that Melfi has been developing for more than a decade with co-writer Chris Wehner. Tim Allen, Vincent D’Onofrio, Luke Grimes, Dax Shepard, Kimberly Quinn and Jimmy O. Yang make up the ensemble telling the story of a young man in the fictional town of El Camino, NV, seeking out a father he has never met. Through no fault of his own he ends up barricades in a liquor store with five other people on Christmas Eve. [Deadline]

Horns director Alexandre Aja will direct Smart House, a techno-thriller based on an original idea by The Conjuring's James Wan. In what sounds like Iron Man meets Panic Room, the film follows a family in the Witness Protection Program who are defended against invading assassins by a lethal, state-of-the-art "smart house". Damn. Brad Keene (The Grudge 3) will write the script while Wan produces since he's a bit busy with that Aquaman thing.