Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson’s has lined up his next film: The Black Phone, based on a novella by horror author Joe Hill, about four strange characters—a dead movie buff, lonely child, a man transformed into a giant locust, and a man locked in a basement (where children were killed) with a disconnected phone that rings with the voices of the dead.
According to Deadline, the movie just picked up an actor who should be a familiar face to science fiction fans: Jeremy Davies, who’s appeared in shows like LOST, the Arrowverse, American Gods, Sleepy Hollow (pictured above), and Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of Solaris.
Hill originally published the story in 2004 in The Third Alternative #39, and it soon appeared in his debut collection, 20th Century Ghosts. Here’s the synopsis:
Imogene is young and beautiful. She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made. She’s also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon one afternoon in 1945. . . .
Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn’t easy to make friends when you’re the only inflatable boy in town. . . .
Francis is unhappy. Francis was human once, but that was then. Now he’s an eight-foot-tall locust and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing. . . .
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. . . .
Derrickson has written the film alongside author and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill (author of Sea of Dust, Day Zero, and co-writer of Doctor Strange), which will also star Mason Thames (For All Mankind) and Madeleine McGraw (Toy Story 4). Deadline didn’t say what role Davies will be playing, but he’s a unique talent, often playing slightly off-kilter and eccentric characters. This feels like the perfect film for him.
The adaptation is the latest one of Hill’s works. His novel Horns was adapted as a film in 2008, while his comic series Locke & Key and novel NOS4A2 were picked up for television adaptations by Netflix and AMC, respectively. Netflix also produced a film based on the novella that he co-wrote with his father, Stephen King, In the Tall Grass.
Derrickson has been bouncing around between productions lately. A year ago, he stepped down from directing the sequel to his 2016 Marvel film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Later that spring, he signed on to direct a sequel to Labyrinth, and in October, signed on to direct The Black Phone. No release date has been set as of yet.