Marti Noxon is toning "Ouija" down from a bombastic epic to a more intimate, atmospheric -- and scary -- movie.
The "Fright Night" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" writer's presence on the project has brought it a new energy, an individual close to the movie told TheWrap.
In August, Universal passed on an earlier version written by Simon Kinberg. McG was attached to direct the project, which was part of Universal's deal with Hasbro, and the studio paid the toymaker a $5 million fee when it chose against making the movie.
At the time, Universal cited budget concerns -- the earlier version would have cost more than $125 million to produce, the individual said.
Kinberg is not known as an intimate movie guy: He wrote "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Sherlock Holmes," and McG's upcoming comedy "This Means War."
The new version, which Hasbro is paying to develop, is less daunting than the Kinberg/McG one. Noxon is focusing more on the concept of the Ouija board -- a seance game that is said to help players communicate with spirits.
Since Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes, which is producing the movie, brought Noxon in for the rewrite, "Ouja" has attracted interest from a raft of independent studios.
Bay's company, however, is accustomed to working with majors.