Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt will direct. Radiant Films International will launch sales next week at Cannes and is repping worldwide rights, excluding Australia and New Zealand.
Also starring are New Zealand actors Erana James and Stefania LaVie Owen, along with YouTube sensation Jamie Curry.
McKenzie also wrote the screenplay, based on Margaret Mahy’s novel “The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance.” New Zeland-based Mahy has won the Carnegie Medal twice and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Firefly Films’ Emma Slade is producing and the film is slated to begin principal photography in August in the New Zealand town of Christchurch. Visual effects will be created by Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post, which oversaw for “The Hobbit” trilogy, “The Lovely Bones,” “District 9” and the “Ben Hur” remake.
The story centers on a 16-year-old who lives in a low-rent suburb on the edge of earthquake-scarred Christchurch with her mother and four-year-old brother. When an ancient spirit attacks her brother and slowly drains the life out of him, she discovers her true identity and the supernatural ability within her, which she must harness to save her brother’s life.
“This is a story about finding your individual empowerment in a scary, thrilling, supernatural environment,” Slade said. “It’s a film in the vein of ‘Twilight’ where very human characters firmly grounded in the real world have to discover their inner strengths to survive and save those they love.”
“The Changeover” has been continuously in print since its first publication in 1984 in the U.K., where it won the Carnegie Award. It has been translated into 15 languages.
Spall won the 2014 Cannes Film Festival best actor award for “Mr. Turner.” He also appeared in the “Harry Potter” films along with “The King’s Speech” and “Sweeney Todd.”
New Zealand native Lynskey has credits on “Up in the Air” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Lynskey received the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s special jury prize for her performance in “The Intervention.”
Heaton broke out in his feature film debut “As You Are” and stars in the Netflix original series “Stranger Things” alongside Winona Ryder. Lawless currently stars in Starz series “Ash Vs. Evil Dead.”