Oscar winner Helen Mirren is in final talks to play Sarah Winchester, the millionaire heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune in the Spierig Brothers new thriller.
Michael and Peter Spierig will write and direct the film titled “Winchester,” based on a script first penned by Tom Vaughan.
The story follows the Sarah Winchester, who was convinced that she and her family were haunted by the souls killed by the family’s infamous rifle. Her real-life obsession led to the round-the-clock construction of an enormous 160-room mansion in San Jose, California, designed to keep these evil spirits at bay.
Her home, the Winchester Mystery House, still stands today in northern California and has been named one of the “Most Haunted Places in the World” by Time Magazine.
Production is expected to start in early 2017 shooting in San Jose as well as in Australia.
The project is being pitched in Cannes with Diamond Pictures and Bullitt Entertainment co-financing with Australia’s Blacklab Entertainment. WME is handling the U.S. rights deal.
IDW’s Brett Matthew Tomberlin and Blacklab’s Tim McGahan are producing, with Bullitt’s Benedict Carver, Diamond’s Daniel Diamond and Tobin Armbrust as executive producers. Andy Trapani, Toni Lianos, Brian Gilbert, Marc Shipper and Simon Oakes are also executive producers.
Mirren is repped by CAA; IDW is repped by Michael Black Management and Mark Temple Law, and Blacklab by Marshalls+Dent Lawyers. Sheppard Mullin brokered the deal for Diamond and Bullitt.
The Winchester Mystery House is one of California’s original and most popular historic attractions. Since opening to the public in 1923, the house has welcomed nearly 12 million people from around the world.
Following a medium’s advice, Sarah built a massive house in Northern California to appease the spirits. For the next 38 years, she never stopped building believing that if she continued, she would live forever, and if she stopped, she would die, which she eventually did in 1922 at age 82.