In a Deadline exclusive, Lionsgate and Buzzfeed have announced that they have greenlit Dear David, a film based on a viral Twitter ghost story. This new film is one of several to come from the Lionsgate and Buzzfeed partnership, which was announced in 2020.
The project was originally acquired by New Line Cinema in 2018, with Dan Lin set to produce, but it has since shifted to Lionsgate and Buzzfeed. The film is based on a viral Twitter thread written in 2018 by Adam Ellis, a former Buzzfeed writer. Ellis is also known for his many online comics, which often feature elements of both horror and comedy. His work is also often autobiographical. The Dear David thread was based on his experience being haunted by an entity that he called ‘Dear David’.
The film is one of a series of new movies that were based on internet content. The 2020 film Zola, which was also based on a Twitter thread, and the 2018 Slender Man film are also based on internet lore. John McPhail will direct Dear David, having previously directed the 2017 film Anna and the Apocolypse. Mike Van Waes is set to write the screenplay for the film.
Lionsgate and Buzzfeed are hoping to connect with the emerging Gen Z audience with this film. As Deadline reported, Alan Reid of Buzzfeed stated, “Ellis’ story captivated audiences across the Internet and built a passionate, global fan base that has been waiting for the film adaptation.”
The property certainly is a unique format to adapt into film, but Zola‘s critical success last year has proven that, though untraditional, internet content is fertile ground for cinematic storytelling. Dear David is the third film in the Lionsgate and Buzzfeed alliance, following the Ruby Rose-led 1UP and My Fake Boyfriend, a romantic comedy starring Dylan Sprouse.
No casting announcements have yet been made and no release date has been set.