Maria Bello and sisters Sophie Nelisse (“The Book Thief”) and Isabelle Nelisse (“Mama”) will star in the ghost story “Wait Till Helen Comes.”
Dominic James is directing “Helen,” which has a $10 million production budget, from a script by Victoria Sanchez Mandryk. Shooting is set to start Sept. 29 in Winnipeg, with a 35-day shoot planned.
The project, adapted from the 1986 novel by Mary Downing Hahn, is a Caramel Film Production in association with Mednick Productions. The story centers on a house haunted by the tormented ghost of a little girl.
Production companies are Caramel Film, Just Believe Productions, DCP Mystery Arts and Inferno Pictures. Producers are Andre Rouleau of Caramel Films; Sanchez Mandryk of Just Believe Productions; Don Carmody of DCP Mystery Arts and Ian Dimerman of Inferno Pictures.
Rouleau said the producers are aiming for a target audience of children older than 8, young adults and families.
“We’d like to get the same audience as ‘The Sixth Sense,” he added. “There will be no gore, but it will be scary.”
Sanchez Mandryk told Variety that she first read “Wait Till Helen Comes” as a 12-year-old.
“The story always stuck with me, more than any other,” she noted. “It was such a thrill when I first talked with Mary Downing Hahn.”
Bello will play the stepmother part. Sophie Nelisse will portray Molly while Isabelle will play Heather, a 7-year-old who becomes friends with a lonely ghost named Helen Harper.
In 2011,Jennifer Love Hewitt was attached to make her feature directing debut for the project.
Bello starred in “Prisoners” and the upcoming “Max Steel” and “McFarland USA.” Sophie Nelisse appeared in “Pawn Sacrifice” and revealed last month on her Twitter account that she was starring in “Wait Till Helen Comes.
Maria Bello will star in the original TV movie Big Driver,based on the novella from King’s 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Olympia Dukakis, Joan Jett and Will Harris also star in the revenge tale adaptation, expected to premiere this fall.Big Driver marks the first collaboration between King and the A+E Networks-owned female-skewing cable network.
In Big Driver, Tess Thorne (Bello), a famous and revered mystery and thriller writer, faces a long drive home following a book signing engagement. Prompted to take a shortcut at the suggestion of the event’s planner, Ramona, Tess sets out to return to her house. But while driving on a lonely stretch of New England road, her tire blows out, leaving her stranded.
Relieved when another driver (Harris) stops and offers assistance, Tess quickly discovers that her savior is actually her assailant, a serial killer who repeatedly assaults her. Left for dead in a drainage pipe to rot with the bodies of his other victims, Tess escapes and makes her way safely home. With her fragile mind beginning to unravel, she is determined to find her rapist and seek revenge, as payback is the only thing holding her together.
Production begins in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this summer.
The film is produced by Ostar Productions and executive produced by Bill Haber (The Trip to Bountiful) and Jeffrey Hayes (A Day Late and a Dollar Short). The screenplay was adapted by Richard Christian Matheson (Masters of Horror, Happy Face Killer) to be directed by Mikael Salomon (Drew Peterson: Untouchable).
Best-selling author King has had many of his fictional works — more than 50 novels and hundreds of shorts — adapted for film and television, including The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Shining, Stand by Me, Firestarter, and Under the Dome,which was ordered straight to series in 2013 at CBS. He has also penned The Stand andDark Tower comic book series.
An adaptation of the apocalyptic thriller Cell starring Samuel L. Jackson is in postproduction, and Blumhouse produced a film called Mercy, an adaptation of King’s short story Gramma, while Bad Little Kid was optioned for a feature by LaurentBouzereau and the long-in-the-works re-adaptation of It moved to New Line earlier this year.
In 2012, THR ranked King No. 1 on its inaugural Power Authors list.