Winchester, the new supernatural thriller from Peter and Michael Spierig (Predestination), today announced production would commence in early 2017 following confirmation of investment from Film Victoria and Screen Australia.
Oscar®-winning actress Helen Mirren will play the role of Sarah Winchester, millionaire heiress to the Winchester Arms fortune who designed and built the renowned Winchester Mystery House.
Winchester will shoot in Melbourne, Docklands Studios and surrounds in early 2017 and will see Victorian locations doubling for San Jose in the early 1900's, before shooting on location at the real Winchester Mystery House, widely thought to be one of the most haunted houses in the world.
Produced by Blacklab Entertainment’s Tim McGahan (Predestination) and Imagination Design Works’ Brett Tomberlin, Winchester has secured support through Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund, along with Screen Australia Production Investment, and assistance from Screen Queensland.
Australian/NZ distributor is StudioCanal. International sales by Diamond Pictures, Bullitt Entertainment and US Distribution confirmed via CBS Films.
Writer/directors Peter and Michael Spierig said “There have been few haunted house stories that have captured our imaginations quite like the legend of the Winchester House. Sarah Winchester was an eccentric pioneer, an inventor, a woman plagued by her family’s legacy, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have Helen Mirren bring this fascinating character to life.“
Producer Tim McGahan said “This is such a great story and we are delighted to have the full support of Screen Australia, Film Victoria and Screen Queensland to help bring it to the screen.”
Jenni Tosi, CEO Film Victoria said: “We’re delighted the Spierig brothers will be back in Melbourne with their next film Winchester, and will again be working with our talented cast and crews. We’re equally thrilled to welcome the peerless Dame Helen Mirren to Melbourne, and hope she'll also have time to experience our world-renowned culture and cuisine.”
“Screen Australia is thrilled to be co-funding Winchester, which gives the Spierig brothers a chance to work with A-List international talent including Helen Mirren,” said Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia. “Films like Winchester telegraph to the international market the breadth of films that can be made in Australia, using not only our locations but our creative and producing talent.”
Winchester tells the story of firearm heiress Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) who after the sudden deaths of her husband and child, believed she was haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester repeating rifle. She threw herself into the 24-hour a day, seven days a week construction of an enormous 160-room mansion designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. But when skeptical San Francisco psychiatrist Eric Price is dispatched to the estate to evaluate her state of mind, he discovers that her obsession may not be so insane after all.