Universal Pictures has acquired the rights of the novel The Girl Before with Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea) attached to direct, according to Deadline. Howard’s longtime producing partner Brian Grazer (Inferno) will produce the film along with Howard and Imagine Entertainment’s Erica Huggins.
The thriller follows a traumatized woman who falls in love with a minimalist house and its designer. When she discovers that a damaged woman previously died in the house, she starts to wonder if she shares the same fate. The yet-to-be-published novel by J.P. Delaney was acquired by publisher, Quercus earlier this year.
This news comes right before Howard’s next film, In the Heart of the Sea which was adapted from the non-fiction book, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex that tells the supposed true story behind Moby Dick. Howard also returned to direct the adaptation of the Dan Brown novel Inferno which is currently in post-production.
No casting announcements have been made for The Girl Before though the project will likely attract some top-name actresses for the lead role. It’s production and release schedule will like be determined based on the success of the novel. Given that Universal was quick to outbid TriStar and Paramount for the rights before the novel released, it’s safe to say they believe they have a hit on their hands.
We’ll have more on the project including casting and a production/release schedule as more information comes available.