Every time I see actor Timothy Spall, I wonder to myself, “How has no one cast him as Scrooge already?” What can I tell you? I’m a sucker for A Christmas Carol as it’s one of the greatest ghost stories ever. In any event, Deadline is reporting that Spall has been set to star in The Changeover, a supernatural thriller based on the bestselling YA novel by New Zealand author Margaret Mahy.
Melanie Lynskey, Charlie Heaton, and Lucy Lawless have also boarded the project, which will go before buyers at the upcoming Cannes Market via Radiant Films International, which is repping worldwide rights outside Australia and New Zealand.
Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt are directing from McKenzie’s adaptation of prolific author Mahy’s 1984 novel The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance. It is a return to the otherworldy YA scene for Spall, who played Wormtail in the Harry Potter movies. New Zealand newcomers Erana James, Stefania LaVie Owen, and Jamie Curry co-star.
The story centers on 16-year-old Laura Chant, who lives in a low-rent suburb on the edge of earthquake-scarred Christchurch with her mother and 4-year-old brother, Jacko. When an ancient spirit attacks Jacko and slowly drains the life out of him, Laura 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,” says Firefly Films’ Emma Slade. “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.”
Slade is producing, and the film is slated to begin principal photography in August in Christchurch, New Zealand.