Seance on a Wet Afternoon

Harry Bradbeer, the Emmy-winning director of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, has lined up his next film project. He’s reuniting with Legendary and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne for Seance on a Wet Afternoon, a movie adaptation of author Mark McShane’s 1961 suspense novel.

The Hollywood Reporter initially broke the news, revealing that Bradbeer will direct the story of “a medium who convinces her husband to kidnap a child so she can help the police solve the crime and achieve renown for her abilities. When her true intentions come to light, however, her husband realizes the plan threatens to consume them both.” The book has already been adapted for the big screen once back in 1964, in a version which starred Kim Stanley (The Three Sisters) and Jurassic Park‘s Richard Attenborough, who both earned critical acclaim and multiple award nominations for their performances.

In addition to directing every episode of Fleabag, Bradbeer has also been behind the camera for shows like Killing Eve and Ramy, as well as a ton of other TV projects over the years. He only has one movie credit to his name so far: an upcoming film called Enola Holmes, which stars Stranger Things breakout Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock Holmes’ much younger sister, who follows in the family business by also becoming a detective. Thorne, who has credits on His Dark Materials and Skins, wrote Enola Holmes, which is a Legendary movie – hence the reunion aspect of the evocatively-titled Seance on a Wet Afternoon.

I’m curious about the setting and scope of this adaptation. Legendary doesn’t strike me as a company that would be willing to do a small-scale, Blumhouse-style version of this story, so I imagine Bradbeer will have the freedom to expand the look as he sees fit. As evidenced in the globe-trotting, stylish look of the espionage thriller Killing Eve, he’s already proven he can do a lot with a little. But frankly, this type project feels like something a major company wouldn’t be willing to back in 2020, so I’m wondering if there’s a key aspect to this that we just don’t know about yet which will make everything come into focus when it’s revealed. Or maybe Legendary just decided to start off the year by taking a chance. Either way, we’re looking forward to seeing how this one plays out. The original film is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel, so perhaps you’ll join me in checking it out before the new one arrives.

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