Henry James' supernatural horror-thriller novella Turn of the Screw has been adapted over and over again throughout the years since it was first released back in 1898. And it looks like the adaptation train is still rolling down the tracks as today we have word that the classic novella is getting a fresh modern spin via Freeform. The teen-friendly network has put a series - described as a "twisty Gothic soap reimagined for modern times" - into development from Alexandra McNally, Josh Berman, and Chris King.
The series will follow, 'Elena, a Mexican-American nanny who is hired to care for the two children of a widowed-father at their summer home on idyllic Bainbridge Island. It seems like the perfect job with potential for a 'happily ever after' ending, but things take a sinister turn when Elena begins seeing ghosts and her grip on what is real and what is not blurs'.
Classified as both gothic horror and a ghost story, the novella focused on a very similar storyline featuring a young woman hired to nanny two orphans who becomes convinced that the old country mansion they live in is haunted by a ghost. The novella itself is scary as all hell and (as mentioned above) has been adapted many times in the past, including an opera in 1954, numerous stage play adaptations, a ballet in 1999, and most notably a chilling feature film called The Innocents directed by Jack Clayton and starring Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, and Megs Jenkins.
But back to the Freeform series. Alexandra McNally will write the pilot script and will executive produce the series along with Josh Berman and Chris King. McNally is no stranger to supernatural TV as she was a writer and co-executive producer on CBS' Stephen King series Under The Dome so I think she's more than a solid fit here. Berman was an executive producer on CSI, a consulting producer on both Bones and The Blacklist, and created both Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva and ABC's Notorious. So the man knows how to bring a show to the screen, for sure. Up next for Berman is a gig as executive producer on Fox and Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis' recently announced one-hour drama based on Strangers, the bestselling book by Dean Koontz. Meanwhile, King's credits include co-executive producing Penny Dreadful, and producing A Path To Honor and Foo Fighters: Back and Forth.
Now for all the adaptations of James' novella out there, what makes this news all the more interesting is the fact that Steven Spielberg's Amblin also has a new take on the story coming our way soon as well. Amblin's version is called The Turning and it's directed by Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways). The movie sports one heck of a cast including Mackenzie Davis (Terminator 6) and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, IT) along with Brooklynn Kimberly Prince from The Florida Project. Sure what Freeform is developing is a TV series and what Amblin has on the slate is a feature film, but still, it seems to be cutting the adaptations pretty close. I can't help but wonder how Steven Spielberg feels about this news. Maybe we'll find out one of these days. This story was originally shared by Deadline.