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Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Development news: Joseph Kosinski to direct sci-fi tale Spiderhead, first televised exorcism gets big-screen retelling

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Feb 1, 2019, 4:47 PM EST

In today's latest development news, Tron: Legacy and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski will return to the sci-fi genre with a new film for Netflix called Spiderhead.

According to Deadline, the film is being written by the team of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland, Deadpool) from a short story called "Escape From Spiderhead" by George Saunders, author of the acclaimed literary supernatural novel Lincoln in the Bardo.

The tale takes place in the near future, when convicts are used as medical subjects in an experimental prison. The story's protagonist becomes a guinea pig for a new drug that can cause people to experience the feeling of love, which he undergoes with two different women. But the scientist in charge of the experiment also wants to test a different drug on his subjects — one that can cause extreme mental and physical pain.

Kosinki made his directorial debut in 2010 with Tron: Legacy and followed that in 2013 with Oblivion, but has stepped away from sci-fi in recent years. He directed the firefighter drama Only the Brave in 2017 and is currently finishing up Top Gun: Maverick, which will reunite him with Oblivion star Tom Cruise.


Deadline also reports that a film about the first exorcism ever shown on national TV is under development. Titled True Haunting, it's based on a book by Edwin F. Becker about a 1971 case that was broadcast by NBC News.

According to the book, the exorcism took place in Chicago at a two-story house that was reportedly possessed by the spirits of the family who had built and lived in it. The young couple who later purchased the residence, the Beckers, eventually agreed to let a psychic named Joseph DeLouise, an author named Tom Valentine, and a British exorcist, Reverend William Derl-Davis, into the house to drive out the spirits, with NBC filming the whole thing (see a very rough-quality post of the broadcast report above, via Slashfilm).

Screenwriter Richard D'Ovidio (The Call) is writing the script for Screen Gems, but there's no word yet on a director or casting (the book, by the way, is still in print).


Finn Wolfhard

Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Universal Pictures has set a new release date for The Turning, a horror film based on the classic novel The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. According to The Wrap, the movie will now open on Jan. 24, 2020, after being moved out of a previously set launch this month.

The story, which was been adapted many times for film, TV, and the stage (including the 1961 horror classic The Innocents), revolves around an emotionally unstable nanny who is hired to look after an orphaned brother and sister named Miles and Flora on a vast estate. She soon learns that the children and the house may be haunted by the spirits of the previous nanny and the property's depraved caretaker.

Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Joely Richardson, and Brooklynn Prince all star in the film, which is directed by Floria Sigismondi, who has helmed episodes of DaredevilAmerican Gods, and The Handmaid’s Tale. The screenplay is by The Conjuring writers Chad and Carey Hayes.


Mario and Luigi Nintendo

Credit: Nintendo

Finally, Nintendo has revealed in its annual financial results recap (via IGN) that an animated film based on the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise is due to arrive "around 2022."

Nintendo is partnering on the project with Illumination, the animation company behind The Grinch, Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets, and many others.

Before this project came along, former Marvel head Avi Arad was reportedly developing a series of Super Mario Bros. movies for Sony Pictures back in 2014. And let's not forget the live-action version that showed up in 1993: