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Remake of classic ‘Gaslight’ in the works

‘Pride and Prejudice’ director will tackle the Ingrid Bergman classic
/ Source: Reuters

Warner Bros. Pictures is developing a remake of “Gaslight,” the 1944 thriller that starred Charles Boyer as a husband trying to drive his bride, played by Ingrid Bergman, insane, the studio said Thursday.

British filmmaker Joe Wright, who directed the recent big-screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice,” is lined up to make his American directing debut on the “Gaslight” update, a Warner spokeswoman said.

Abi Morgan, the writer behind the 2004 British television miniseries “Sex Traffic,” plans to write the new “Gaslight” screenplay, which will be set in contemporary California instead of gloomy Victorian London, the spokeswoman said.

The Time Warner Inc.-owned studio has acquired rights to the underlying source material for the film and given the go-ahead for development of a script. No money has been earmarked for production and no casting choices have been made.

The “Gaslight” development deal was first reported by Hollywood trade publication Daily Variety.

The 1944 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer classic, like the lesser-known 1940 British version that preceded it, was adapted from a 1938 British stage play by Patrick Hamilton.

The MGM picture, directed by George Cukor, starred Boyer as a sinister husband who systematically tries to drive his fragile young wife crazy, in order to gain control of her family’s jewels.

The movie co-starred Joseph Cotten and Angela Lansbury, who was making her feature debut at the age of 17.

The popular phrase “to gaslight” someone — meaning to manipulate someone’s environment to trick the person into thinking he or she is insane — was derived from the film’s premise.

MGM’s “Gaslight” garnered seven Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Bergman as best actress and for the film’s art direction. Bergman also won a Golden Globe for her role.