CBS Films just released the first image of actress Helen Mirren in character, and in costume, as Sarah Winchester in the upcoming thriller Winchester. It's directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, the Australian brothers behind the 2009 film Daybreakers, and the upcoming Saw: Legacy, and as we learned last year, Mirren is taking on the role of the mysterious and reportedly troubled heiress who built the famed, labyrinthine Winchester Mystery House, all in an effort to confuse and outrun ghosts who she believed were haunting her.
People Magazine got the exclusive first look, and Mirren tells them, "I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe people can be haunted, and Sarah Winchester is a haunted person. That was the appeal in the role."
Co-director Peter Spierig tells the magazine, "Sarah Winchester is quite a remarkable woman, and the idea of her being just a crazy person who was haunted by ghosts is not the full story. Helen Mirren, in particular, I think is great in portraying that.”
Michael Spierig tells People that he thinks Winchester was "an intelligent woman and a little misunderstood," and he points to the fact that she was passionate about design and an inventor herself, having come up with unique intercom and irrigation systems for the house herself. She was also one of the first people ever to own a telephone.
Some location shooting for the film occurred last month in San Jose without any of the stars on set, and as People now explains, the brothers have actually reconstructed a version of the house and some of its interiors in Australia. They'll be back, as we heard last month, in May to shoot on location at the Winchester Mystery House and possibly in San Francisco? Terminator: Genisys star Jason Clarke co-stars as a San Francisco psychiatrist who is "dispatched to the estate to evaluate [Winchester's] state of mind, [and] he discovers that her obsession may not be so insane after all."
The film is due for a Spring 2018 release, and Michael Spierig assures People, "From what we’ve done over the last couple of months, I think everyone will be pretty scared."