While Ellen Page’s departure from Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell remains something of a mystery (the official line claims a schedule conflict; the rumor mill blames the screenplay), the project is moving forward with a new star.  Or is that a new actress?  I mean, technically, Alison Lohman will be “the star”, but will she even get above-the-title billing?  No disrespect intended to Ms. Lohman, who was excellent in Matchstick Men and Where the Truth Lies, but they can’t even sell her as an “Academy Award-nominee”.

Looks like Raimi’s PG-13 “spook-a-blast” is going to be marketed strictly as the spam-in-a-cabin pioneer’s return to the horror genre, which will mean nothing to the legion of kids brought up on his Spider-Man movies.  But fuck them anyway.  As a replacement for Page, Lohman is definitely sexier and probably more daring, but can she do comedy?  Will she have to do comedy?  I’m interpreting the “spook-a-blast” label as an indication that Drag Me to Hell will be a femme-led companion piece to the Evil Dead movies.  If so, Lohman seems an odd choice; she was spunky in Matchstick Men, but kinda plain in everything else (though I missed the Tom DiCillo movie).  Could’ve been a great comeback vehicle for Lindsey Lohan.

Page’s exit delayed production a little, but the film should commence principal photography by the end of the month.  The screenplay is by Sam and Ivan Raimi, and it should be in my clutches for a Crop Report this week!