Guns, Ghosts and Helen Mirren Will Collide In 'Winchester,' Based on a Bizarre True Story

Guns, Ghosts and Helen Mirren Will Collide In 'Winchester,' Based on a Bizarre True Story

May 16, 2016

The Winchester repeating rifle may have one of the strangest legacies of any American product. Oliver Winchester made a fortune in the 1800s selling the guns, whose design didn't require the shooter to stop and reload after every shot. Oliver only had one son, William, who inherited the company and its riches upon his death in 1880. Just four months later, William died and the Winchester business passed to his wife, Sarah. That's when things got weird.

Sarah believed the deaths of her husband, their daughter (two decades earlier), and her father-in-law were all due to a curse put on the family by the spirits of those killed by their rifles. This idea of a curse soon became an obsession, and so when a psychic in Boston told Sarah Winchester the only way to prevent the curse from killing her was to never stop construction on the Winchester's already massive mansion in San Jose, California, she believed him. 

Sarah Winchester then spent millions of dollars and the next three decades of her life making sure the house was under construction twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This unceasing construction led to a very strange design, to say the least, with winding hallways, stairwells that led nowhere and windows that opened right up to new walls. The exact purpose of the construction is apparently in dispute, with some saying the odd design was just due to Winchester's lack of training, while others rumored it was intended to confuse the ghosts. Either way, the only thing that stopped construction on the house was Sarah's death at the age of 83.

And now Michael and Peter Spierig (Daybreakers, Predestination) are telling her bizarre story in Winchester, and they've got Helen Mirren on board to play Sarah. That's an incredibly exciting team to get behind such an unusual story. The Spierig's are very stylish filmmakers who know how to tell genre stories in their own, weird little bubbles. They're a perfect match for a movie about a woman who genuinely thought she was being haunted. And of course Helen Mirren is one of the most talented, and simply coolest, actors around. The fact that their pitch for the movie has hooked an actor of her calibre means we've all got a special movie to look forward to in the not-too-distant future.


Categories: News, In Development, Indie
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