Sinister team C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson are ready to answer The Black Phone. The pair will adapt the short story by Joe Hill into a feature film for Blumhouse, with Derrickson directing a script he co-wrote with Cargill. Mason Thames (For All Mankind) and Madeleine McGraw (Toy Story 4, Secrets of Sulphur Springs) are set to star in the adaptation, which tells the story of a kidnapped boy who receives a ghostly call on the broken phone located in the basement where he’s being held captive.
The Black Phone appeared in Joe Hill’s excellent horror collection 20th Century Ghosts, and now it’s headed to the screen. Scott Derrickson, director of Sinister, Doctor Strange, and more, will helm the film, using a script he co-wrote with frequent collaborator C. Robert Cargill. In the short story, a young boy is kidnapped and locked away in the basement. In his basement cell is an old, and clearly non-functioning, telephone. And yet…the phone suddenly starts to ring. Here’s the official synopsis:
John Finney is locked in a basement that’s stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead…
It’s not my favorite story in 20th Century Ghosts (that would be Best New Horror), but it has its moments, and as a fan of Sinister, I’m really excited to see what Derrickson and Cargill do with this material. Cargill took to Twitter to hype up the project:
And Derrickson added that we can expect the film to be R-rated, if that’s something you were curious about. Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw have been cast in the film, and I can honestly say I have no idea who either of these young actors are, but that’s fine. Thames is likely playing main character John Finney, and if I had to guess, I’d say that McGraw is playing John Finney’s sister, who has a small role in the story (her part may have been expanded for the film adaptation, though).
Derrickson, Cargill, and Jason Blum, for Blumhouse, are producing the film. Universal and Blumhouse will present the Crooked Highway Production, and Joe Hill is an executive producer. And I guess the big question here is: will this be the film that finally gets a Joe Hill adaptation right? I’ve yet to be wowed by any of the previous Hill adaptations – Horns was blah, In the Tall Grass was entertaining but messy, and I lost interest in NOS4A2. Fingers crossed that Derrickson and Cargill succeed where others have failed.
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