Psycho thriller has Poe-tential

“Paranormal Activity” helmer Oren Peli has signed on to direct “Eliza Graves” for Sobini Films and Icon Prods.

Loosely based on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, project centers on a Harvard Medical School graduate who takes a job at an insane asylum, unaware of the fact that it has been taken over by its occupants. Joe Gangemi penned the screenplay.

A clutch of high-caliber talent has been interested in the long-gestating project over the past decade — Jodie Foster was looking to direct, while Ian McKellan and Natalie Portman had been mentioned in connection with starring roles.

Sobini’s Mark Amin, David Higgins and Cami Winikoff are producing alongside Icon’s Bruce Davey and Mel Gibson.

Poe-themed projects are enjoying something of a revival. Among other pics inspired by the master of macabre is FilmNation’s James McTeigue-helmed “The Raven.”

Peli, who most recently directed upcoming alien thriller “Area 51″ for Paramount, has branched out into producing. His recent credits as a producer include “Paranormal Activity 2″ and the James Wan-helmed “Insidious,” which sold at the Toronto Film Festival to Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group.

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