Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Little Stranger’ Lands at Focus

Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights to the ghost story “The Little Stranger,” starring Domhnall Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Ruth Wilson and Will Poulter with Lenny Abrahamson directing.

Focus, which announced the deal Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival, said production will begin in the U.K. this summer for a 2018 release. Pathe will handle distribution in the U.K., France and Switzerland.

Abrahamson, who received an Academy Award nomination for “Room,” will direct from a script by Lucinda Coxon, who wrote the screenplay adaptation of Focus’ “The Danish Girl.” Coxon has adapted “The Little Stranger” from Sarah Waters’ 2009 novel of the same name.

The story is set in a remote English village after the close of World War II, when Gleeson’s local practitioner is called to the aged estate of Hundreds Hall to tend to an unwell parlor maid. The resident is also home to Rampling’s glamorous widow and her two grown children, played by Wilson and Poulter — a badly disfigured veteran of the war.  The family welcomes Gleeson’s character and he’s drawn into the mystery of the Hall’s apparent haunting by a malevolent ghost, which ratchets up in intensity as he becomes more involved with the family.

“The Little Stranger” is a Focus Features, Pathé, and Film4 presentation in association with Ingenious Media and the Irish Film Board of a Potboiler production in association with Element Pictures. The producers are Gail Egan, Andrea Calderwood (“The Last King of Scotland”) and Ed Guiney (“Room”).

Executive producers are Pathé’s Cameron McCracken, Film4’s Daniel Battsek, Irish Film Board’s Celine Haddad, Ingenious’ Tim O’Shea, and Element’s Andrew Lowe. The film was developed by Potboiler and Film4 with Element Films.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Lenny, a filmmaker who has proven to redefine every genre he takes on,” said Focus chairman Peter Kujawski. “We are excited to be partnering once again with our good friends at Pathé and Film4 on The Little Stranger, a classic ghost story to chill moviegoers.”

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