Mary Harron must be obsessed with refined murderers. She famously gave the world an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s business-card obsessed killer in American Psycho, and now she’s headed to boarding school to create The Moth Diaries – an adaptation of the Rachel Klein novel of the same name. It looks like she’s got a cast on board as well – Lily Cole, Scott Speedman, Sarah Gadon and Sarah Bolger have all signed on.

As to tone, Harron notes “This is a chillingly atmospheric horror story with real emotional depth. I’ve tried to stay true to Rachel Klein’s novel in the way it re-works and updates the Gothic tradition and the whole notion of girl-on-girl vampires.”

The book focuses on a young girl (played by Bolger) who grows increasingly obsessed with her friend Lucy and a growing relationship between her and the mysterious Ernessa. Described with pale skin and piercing eyes, that’s the role for Cole. Lucy will be played by Gadon, and Speedman will play the professor that Bolger’s character develops feelings for.

It probably won’t be a major feat to get a brooding performance from Speedman, and the female cast is incredibly strong. Bolger is best known as Mary Tudor on The Tudors, but she also had a great role in Jim Sheridan’s In America. Cole caught a break with St. Trinian’s and went on to become the un-distressed damsel in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Gadon is the only x-factor here, with a minor role in the excellent Charlie Bartlett and a current role on the sort of interesting show Happy Town. All in all, it’s a promising group.

The great thing about the novel is that it’s an exploration into madness brought on by adolescent pressure. What might seem frivolous is dealt with deftly by Klein, and it’s clear that Harron has the same steady hand needed to make this into something special. Vampires are getting to be a fad too far in Hollywood, but this story focuses more on the psyche of a troubled young girl. It might very well be a blend of Sucker Punch, True Blood, and the Police song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” [THR]


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