Elisabeth Moss is famed author Shirley Jackson in the first trailer for Shirley, which releases in early June. Born in 1916, Jackson published her first novel The Road Through the Wall in 1948. Jackson would later make her name as a horror and mystery author thanks in large part to her 1948 short story “The Lottery,” as well as her 1959 ghost novel The Haunting of Hill House.
Indeed it was The Haunting of Hill House, with its memorable tale of the supernatural, that would bring Hollywood to Jackson’s doorstep. The book was first adapted as the classic film The Haunting in 1963, with Robert Wise in the director’s chair, and in 1999 was adapted again with modern day special effects and Twister director Jan De Bont behind the camera. Netflix brought the story back one more time for 2018’s acclaimed ten-episode series.
Now, the story of Jackson’s own life will get the movie treatment, with Moss in the lead role. The first trailer for the film, titled simply Shirley, has been revealed by NEON. Co-starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young and Logan Lerman, the film from director Josephine Decker and executive producer Martin Scorsese is set to be released on Hulu and on-demand on June 5, 2020. See the trailer and a poster (via NEON/Twitter) in the space below:
The synopsis for the Sundance Film Festival favorite reads:
Renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson is on the precipice of writing her masterpiece when the arrival of newlyweds upends her meticulous routine and heightens tensions in her already tempestuous relationship with her philandering husband. The middle-aged couple, prone to ruthless barbs and copious afternoon cocktails, begins to toy mercilessly with the naïve young couple at their door.
With its story about a middle-aged Jackson and her husband “toying” with a naive young couple, the movie definitely sounds echoes of the classic film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Of course, the film’s main draw is Moss, who in recent years has become a master of portraying women cracking under stress, or otherwise going through harrowing emotional experiences that sometimes cause them to lose touch with reality. Moss obviously rose to fame playing the relatively calm Peggy Olson on AMC’s Mad Men, and only later became a brilliant meltdown artist in movies like Queen of Earth, Her Smell and this year’s The Invisible Man.
Indeed, it’s already been a strong year for Moss with her gripping performance as a stalking victim in Invisible Man. At least going by the trailer, Shirley will give Moss another chance to show her talents in a vehicle that seems perfectly suited to her. And with the Oscars now saying streaming movies are eligible for awards, don’t be surprised to see Moss getting Academy Awards buzz coming off what looks to be a showcase movie for the actress. Indeed, it will be fascinating to see how awards season shakes out with so many movies hitting streaming services and on-demand without even having the theatrical runs that once were needed for Oscars eligibility.