Film News

Fourth time is the charm for "Conjure Wife" movie

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - As the saying goes, behind every successful man is a strong woman -- who casts spells on his behalf.

Tom Cruise’s United Artists has lined up “Breach” writer-director Billy Ray to adapt and direct a film version of the horror fantasy novel “Conjure Wife.”

The 1943 debut novel by noted fantasy and science fiction writer Fritz Leiber Jr., “Conjure” is about a New England college professor who discovers his good fortune has been a result of his wife’s secret, magical interference. When he pressures her to cease her otherworldly meddling, dark events and even darker forces descend on the couple without her protection.

UA’s MGM parent is co-financing and co-producing the film with French producer StudioCanal, which shares underlying rights to the project because of a previous adaptation of the book.

“Conjure Wife” has been adapted three times before: in 1944 as “Weird Woman,” starring Lon Chaney Jr.; in 1962 as “Night of the Eagle”/”Burn, Witch, Burn!”; and in 1980 as “Witches’ Brew,” starring Richard Benjamin and Teri Garr.

Ray’s “Rosemary’s Baby”-toned update will amp up the prurience factor as one woman’s desire to take over a more ideal female body factors into the plot. He most recently finalized the script for DreamWorks’ upcoming thriller “Motorcade,” which will be directed by Len Wiseman (“Live Free Or Die Hard”).

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter