Jason Clarke will join Helen Mirren in Winchester, a supernatural thriller about eccentric firearms heiress Sarah Winchester. Her legacy is a mansion that took shape over 38 years of continuous construction... because she believed the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles wanted her do it. As you might guess, Clarke is playing something more interesting than one of her carpenters. Image: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
The film follows firearm heiress Sarah Winchester (Mirren), who's convinced that she's haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester repeating rifle. After the sudden deaths of her husband and child, she throws herself into the construction of an enormous mansion designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. But when sceptical San Francisco psychiatrist Eric Price (Clarke) is dispatched to the estate to evaluate her state of mind, he discovers that her obsession may not be so insane after all.
As anyone who's visited San Jose's weirdest tourist attraction can tell you, the house is completely quirky, not to mention massive. The official website for the Winchester Mystery House, as it's now called, notes that the place has 160 rooms spread over 2230 square metres, not to mention a ton of architectural oddities, like staircases and doors that don't lead anywhere — the result of all that blueprint-less construction, as well as Winchester's desire to confuse any visiting spirits. (Naturally, the historic landmark also has a designated seancé room, which Houdini allegedly visited in 1924).
An earlier Deadline story notes that Winchester will be the first feature film to actually shoot on the Winchester property. Supposedly, the place is still haunted by Winchester's spirit buddies, a reputation that no doubt fuels the popularity of the mansion's spooky torch tours. The film will be directed by twins Michael and Peter Spierig, who are currently working on the eighth Saw film, Saw: Legacy.