In addition to the other projects he’s long wanted to tackle—which reportedly include an adaptation of DC Comics’ Blackhawk series and a film about Thomas Crapper, whom some suppose (incorrectly) invented the toilet—Steven Spielberg has ostensibly sought to adapt the Henry James novella, The Turn Of The Screw. Described as a “passion project” of his, the Bridge Of Spies director has partnered with Amblin Entertainment on Haunted, a new production based on James’ 19th-century ghost story. But Spielberg is relegating himself to the shadows, i.e., a producer role, as Deadline reports that 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has just been tapped to helm the film.
Henry James’ 1898 novella centered on a (likely repressed) governess who’s assigned to look after an orphaned boy and girl on a sprawling country estate that may or may not be haunted. The ghost (or not) story has received the big-screen treatment before, perhaps most notably in 1961 with The Innocents. Haunted was written by Chad Hayes & Carey Hayes (The Conjuring), which speaks well for it. Fresnadillo delivered solid scares with 28 Weeks Later, and has juggled heady themes before—in his feature-length debut Intacto, which he also wrote—so he seems well-suited to direct the latest cinematic incarnation of James’ gothic tale, which provoked much discussion among critics when it was first published and has inspired numerous literary and onscreen retellings.