Billy Ray in for 'Conjure Wife'

'Breach' writer-director will adapt the novel and direct

As the saying goes, behind every successful man is a strong woman -- who casts spells on his behalf.

United Artists has attached "Breach" writer-director Billy Ray to adapt and direct a film version of the horror fantasy novel "Conjure Wife."

The 1943 debut novel by fantasy and science fiction writer Fritz Leiber Jr., "Conjure" centers on a New England college professor who discovers that his good fortune is the result of his wife's secret, magical interference. When he pressures her to stop, dark forces descend on the couple without her protection.

UA is co-financing and co-producing the film with StudioCanal, which shares underlying rights to the project because of a previous adaptation. The Lion will market and distribute in the U.S., and StudioCanal will distribute in Germany and the U.K. through Kinowelt and Optimum Releasing.

Production president Don Granger will oversee for UA.

The book has been adapted three times before: in 1944 as "Weird Woman," in 1962 as "Night of the Eagle"/"Burn, Witch, Burn!" and in 1980 as "Witches' Brew."

Ray's update will amp up the prurience factor as one woman's desire to take over a more ideal female body factors into the plot.

Ray is repped by ICM and Management 360.