Deadline is reporting that Focus Features has picked up worldwide rights to Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger, at the Marché du Film in Cannes. The deal excludes the UK, France and Switzerland, where it will be release by Pathé, and Ireland where it will be released by Element Pictures Distribution.

The film is an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ gothic novel of the same name, a ghost story about a country doctor who makes friends with an old gentry family of declining fortunes who own a very old estate that is crumbling around them.

Lucinda Coxon, best known for her script for The Danish Girl, has adapted the novel. Domhnall Gleeson will play the above-mentioned doctor, with Ruth Wilson set to play one of the estate house owner’s daughters whom the doctor sets his eyes on. The film has also added Charlotte Rampling and Will Poulter to the cast.

Having secured an Oscar nomination for his last film, Room, Abrahamson has his pick of projects. The Little Stranger sees him continue his association with Element Pictures, who will produce alongside Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan for Potboiler Productions.

We’re thrilled to be working with Lenny, a filmmaker who has proven to redefine every genre he takes on. We are excited to be partnering once again with our good friends at Pathé and Film4 on The Little Stranger, a classic ghost story to chill moviegoers.
Peter Kujawski, Chairman – Focus Features

Other films that Abrahamson and Element have in the pipeline include an adaptation of Laird Hunt’s Civil War novel Neverhome; an adaptation of Neal Bascomb’s upcoming book The Grand Escape; an adaptation of Burning Rainbow Farm which tells the story of Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm and their FBI-raided marijuana-friendly farm; a biography of boxer Emile Griffith, based on the book A Man’s World: The Double Life Of Emile Griffith; an adaptation of Gitta Sereny’s Into That Darkness, the story of Franz Stangl SS commandant of the Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps scripted by Enda Walsh (Hunger, Disco Pigs); and an original feature called Us, written by Adam & Paul screenwriter Mark O’Halloran. Abrahamson and Element are also working with writer Nancy Harris on a TV adaptation of Antony Trollope’s novel The Kellys and The O’Kellys, which is being developed for BBC Northern Ireland.

The Little Stranger was offered a Production Loan of €350,000 by the Irish Film Board in the last round of funding and is expected to start production in the UK this summer, for a 2018 release.

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