Influential ‘Castle’ Getting Big Screen Treatment

One of the most influential writers of our time is about to take filmgoers to a horrific journey into We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as Michael Douglas’ Further Films is developing Shirley Jackson’s novel into a feature film. Jackson penned “The Lottery,” “The Haunting of Hill House,” among many other classic tales. Beyond the break you can read about Castle and see what they plan on doing with the adaptation.
Further Films is developing the novel “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” Jackson’s 1962 tome about a reclusive, potentially murderous family. it will be penned by Mark Krueger (“The 4400”).

“Castle” revolves around the Blackwood family — primarily of sisters Merricat and Connie and their uncle Julian — who have been forced into seclusion after the mysterious lethal poisoning of several of their family members six years earlier. Merricat is the younger sister, caring for the agoraphobic Connie, while the ailing Julian increasingly is in the grip of his own obsessions.

The plot is further complicated by the arrival of a dubious, long-lost cousin who seeks to secure the family’s fortune.

“Castle” has never had a big-screen treatment but was adapted for a short-lived Broadway run in the 1960s. Those familiar with the feature take say it will combine literary and genre elements in what producers hope will transcend the more high-concept commercial horror stories that studios and their labels are making.

Horror gurus like Stephen King have cited Jackson as a prime influence on their work. The author, who died in 1965, probably is best known for her short story “The Lottery,” a 1948 tale originally published by the New Yorker. That story tells of a secret ritual stoning in a small American town. Initially controversial, it has become a staple in U.S. classrooms.

Several of Jackson’s novels have been made into films, including the Elizabeth Parker-toplined “Lizzie,” the 1957 split-personality thriller based on Jackson’s novel “The Bird’s Nest,” and “The Haunting,” a 1963 Robert Wise pic based on the gothic tale “The Haunting of Hill House.” In 1999, DreamWorks turned that novel into a Liam Neeson-Catherine Zeta-Jones starrer, also titled “The Haunting.” The film went on to earn $180 million worldwide.