EXCLUSIVE:  Studiocanal and The Picture Company have preemptively acquired the true story female-driven package Hellish Nell.

Blacklist writer Chris Basler adapted Malcom Gaskill novel, which tells the story of Helen Duncan, a famous Scottish medium whose ability was put to the test and eventually became the last woman ever tried legally for Witchcraft in 1933 in London.

Duncan, an enigmatic and polarizing figure in the world of mediums, was renowned for her ability to conjure spirits of the dead – specifically loved ones of grieving families. Her ability was scrutinized when an ambitious researcher tired to debunk Duncan’s ability, leading to a harrowing experience for the medium and her family. Basler’s script will center around Duncan’s family drama with her husband and young children as she explored her supernatural abilities throughout her life.

Gaskill did many years of research into Duncan’s life and is a leading expert in the history of Witchcraft and the supernatural. Basler discovered the book and wrote the script on spec before sharing with The Picture Company. He’ll serve as EP on the feature.

The Picture Company partners Alex Heineman & Andrew Rona will produce the film under their overall deal at Studiocanal.

Basler’s feature The Silence of Mary from Luma Pictures and The Black List Productions is currently in post production.

Hellish Nell adds to The Picture Company and Studiocanal’s shared slate including, Kaley Cuoco starrer Role Play which looks to shoot next year as well as the high-concept thriller Baghead with Freya Allan and Ruby Barker.

Basler is repped by Ben Rowe at Grandview and attorney Dean Bahat. Gaskill is repped by Rebecca Watson.

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