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New Line has picked up the remake rights of Housebound, a horror comedy from New Zealand that has earned praise from Lord of the Rings filmmaker Peter Jackson.
Gerard Johnstone, who wrote and directed the movie, will produce the remake but will handover the filmmaking reins to another. A search for a writer to adapt the movie is underway.
The story tells of a rebellious young woman who is forced to return to her country home thanks to forced home detention program. Living with her small-town-minded mother and stepfather seems like a fate worse than death until she begins to suspect that something malevolent may be in house as well.
Johnstone made the movie with the aid of the New Zealand Film Commission, which is how it came to the attention of Kiwi stalwart Jackson, who made his name making films that straddled the line between horror and comedy before going on to billion dollar fame with his LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies that he made for New Line.
While New Line didn’t pick up the movie for distribution, the execs did think the story was worth developing in a way that would reach a bigger audience. And Blackwood thinks that Johnstone is one to watch.
“The movie is scary but has comedy woven in,” said Blackwood. “It’s very difficult do to well but he pulled it off.”
Execs Dave Neustadter and Walter Hamada will oversee for New Line.
Johnstone is repped by Ken Kamins at Ken Creatives.
Feb. 11, 8:20 p.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Peter Jackson brought the film to New Line’s attention. THR regrets the error.
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