Jamie Bell will make his screenwriting debut alongside pal Max Minghella on an adaptation of Ruth Ware‘s haunted house thriller The Turn of the Key.
Deadline broke the news, reporting that Working Title has optioned the rights to the book, which hails from the author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game, all of which have previously been optioned for the screen.
The Turn of the Key is Ware‘s fifth novel, and the story follows a young woman who takes a lucrative job as a live-in nanny at a high-tech “smart” house in the Scottish Highlands, where it soon becomes clear that all is not what it seems among this picture-perfect family. The premise does feel a little familiar, and Lord knows we don’t need any more haunted house movies, but the writing team of Bell and Minghella intrigues me and has me a little more interested in this project than I might’ve been otherwise — especially if there’s a chance Bell takes a role in this film.
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce The Turn of the Key for Working Title, whose executives Amelia Granger and Alexandra Loewy will oversee development for the company. Working Title has a promising upcoming slate that includes Edgar Wright‘s Last Night in Soho starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Joe Wright‘s Cyrano starring Peter Dinklage, and Lena Dunham‘s Catherine, Called Birdy, which co-stars Andrew Scott of Fleabag fame.
Bell recently starred opposite Michael B. Jordan in Without Remorse, and alongside Taron Egerton in Rocketman. The Billy Elliot star is currently filming Apple‘s serial killer series The Shining Girls with Elisabeth Moss. Though The Turn of the Key will be Bell‘s first screenplay, he has recently begun branching out from acting, as he executive produced Minghella‘s own directorial debut Teen Spirit, and he’s also co-producing Amazon‘s Fred & Ginger movie, in which he’ll stars as Fred Astaire alongside Margaret Qualley as Ginger Rogers.
Minghella is an executive producer on that project, having made his own screenwriting debut several years ago on Alexandre Aja‘s thriller The 9th Life of Louis Drax starring Jamie Dornan and Aaron Paul. Though I must admit that I never saw that Miramax film, I really liked Teen Spirit, and if Working Title is pleased with the Turn of the Key script, I wouldn’t mind seeing Minghella direct the film as well. The star of Spiral and The Handmaid’s Tale was also recently cast in Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood drama Babylon, though his role is being kept under wraps.