London, England – February 1, 2010 – Exclusive Media Group’s (EMG) legendary British film studio, Hammer Films, announced today that it has optioned feature film rights to Susan Hill’s best selling, ghost story horror novel, “The Woman in Black”, and will produce a feature film adaptation with Talisman Films. Jane Goldman (“Stardust,” and Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming “Kick-Ass”) is penning the screenplay and James Watkins (“Eden Lake,” and the upcoming “Methuselah” for Warner Bros.) will direct. The announcement was made today by Hammer President & CEO Simon Oakes.
The story follows a young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, who is ordered to travel to a remote village and sort out a recently deceased client’s papers. As he works alone in the client’s isolated house, Kipps begins to uncover tragic secrets, his unease growing when he glimpses a mysterious woman dressed only in black. Receiving only silence from the locals, Kipps is forced to uncover the true identity of the Woman in Black on his own, leading to a desperate race against time when he discovers her true intent.
Simon Oakes of Hammer Films and Richard Jackson of Talisman Films will produce the picture. Nigel Sinclair and Guy East will serve as Executive Producers for Hammer. Roy Lee and Doug Davison’s Vertigo Entertainment (“The Grudge,” “The Ring”) are also attached, with Roy Lee serving as an Executive Producer.
Exclusive Film Distribution is handling worldwide sales and distribution, and will be representing the film at the forthcoming EFM in Berlin.
Hill’s novel has become a modern classic, appearing on the national curriculum in the UK. “The Woman in Black” was adapted into a stage play by Stephen Mallatratt, first performed at the Theatre-By-The-Sea in Scarborough, UK in 1987. It moved to the Fortune Theatre in London’s West End in 1989, where it still successfully runs today, over twenty years later, and has been performed the world over.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with Jane Goldman, and with Talisman and Hammer, to turn Susan Hill's spine-chilling ghost story into a film that scares people stiff and moves them to tears,” said Watkins.
Commented Oakes, “’The Woman in Black’ is an iconic British horror story, and so makes a perfect match for Hammer. Jane Goldman has written a terrific screenplay and with James Watkins at the helm, we feel that this feature adaptation of Susan Hill’s classic novel will be both dynamic and terrifying.”
ABOUT HAMMER FILMS
Hammer is the legendary British film brand, which was originally launched in 1934 and delivered a hugely successful run of films in the 1950s including Gothic classics "Dracula" and "The Curse of Frankenstein" and Sci-Fi picture "The Quatermass Xperiment." Hammer's reputation became branded worldwide as 'Hammer House of Horror'. In the 1960s Hammer struck distribution deals with Universal, Warner Brothers, Fox and Columbia. Hammer went on to produce a huge volume of films which included such titles as "The Plague of the Zombies," "The Nanny," "Quatermass and the Pit," "The Devil Rides Out" and "One Million Years B.C."
Not in production since the 1980s, the company's brand is now being aggressively reinvigorated by Exclusive Media Group through new investment in the development and production of film, television and digital-platform content.
Hammer's return to horror was heralded by interactive web serial "Beyond the Rave," which was broadcast by MySpace in 12 territories in 2008. Today, Hammer has an active development slate across diverse genres sourced out of both Europe and the United States. Hammer recently wrapped production on "The Resident," which stars two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Boys Don’t Cry”) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen”) and is directed by Antti Jokinen. Currently in production for Hammer is, "Let Me In", an adaptation of the highly acclaimed Swedish Film, “Lat den Ratte Komma In,” a.k.a. "Let the Right One In", written and directed by Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield").
ABOUT EXCLUSIVE MEDIA GROUP (EMG)
Formed by strategic investment group Cyrte Investments in May 2008, Exclusive Media Group (EMG) is the parent company of Spitfire Pictures, Hammer Films and the newly acquired Newmarket Films. The company is run by Co-Chairmen Nigel Sinclair, Chris Ball and Guy East, with Sinclair serving as group CEO. East is also Chairman of Exclusive Film Distribution (EFD). Simon Oakes serves as Vice-Chairman of the EMG Board as well as President and CEO of Hammer.
Under EMG, Spitfire and Hammer operate as two separate production entities with offices both in London and Los Angeles. EMG has an active development slate and intends to produce and finance 3‐4 motion pictures a year under its production brands, Hammer Films and Spitfire Pictures, together with producing approximately 2 iconic titles through its Spitfire Documentary Films label. Furthermore, EMG plans to acquire further films for international distribution via its London based subsidiary Exclusive Film Distribution, and for US theatrical distribution via its Newmarket Films subsidiary. The group also develops projects for television and digital platforms.
EMG has over 500 titles in the combined Hammer, Spitfire and Newmarket libraries and pursues an aggressive library acquisition policy. The Hammer library is noted for its remake potential and the company is in discussions with A-list writers and directors to revive and re-imagine some of its highly touted titles.