If you’ve ever fantasized about being Shirley Jackson’s house-guest, Josephine Decker’s new film just might change your mind (or seal the deal, depending on who you are). Based on Susan Scarf Merrell’s novel of the same name, Shirley has just released its first trailer.
Starring Elisabeth Moss as a terrifying Jackson (complete with lots of long, unblinking side-eye and knowing smirks), the film follows a fictionalized version of the author and her Bennington professor husband Stanley Edgar Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg) over the course of a few months in 1964, as they invite a young couple named Rose and Fred Nemser (Odessa Young and Logan Lerman) to stay at their home. While Jackson and her husband begin the trailer as a charming celebrity couple who host literary soirees and dash off witty rebuttals to nosy hangers-on, things quickly take a dark turn. The author starts hinting at a gnawing secret, asking Rose if she can trust her and confiding in her during unsettling late-night talks. But is Jackson truly heading down a dark descent, or is she just screwing with the young couple to use them as fodder for her next book? The trailer makes both seem equally plausible, with creepy re-enactments of Macbeth and violence involving eggs. As Jackson says in a perfectly chilling line, “Freud would have a field day.”
Elisabeth Moss is Shirley Jackson.
Everywhere June 5th. pic.twitter.com/Ms1YbVNuEO
— NEON (@neonrated) May 8, 2020
Here’s the official synopsis, from NEON:
Renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson is on the precipice of writing her masterpiece when the arrival of newlyweds upends her meticulous routine and heightens tensions in her already tempestuous relationship with her philandering husband. The middle-aged couple, prone to ruthless barbs and copious afternoon cocktails, begins to toy mercilessly with the naïve young couple at their door.
Shirley will be “available everywhere” June 5.