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Though Henry James was born American, England was his adopted home, and it's where he wrote the gothic horror novella The Turn of the Screw. While it's frequently claimed as American literature, the book was set in London and written in England while James lived in Rye, East Sussex.
For that reason, we consider it well within the purview of this site.
The Haunting of Bly Manor
The Haunting of Bly Manor is an upcoming Netflix series designed as both an adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and a follow up to their previous series The Haunting of Hill House (based on American Shirley Jackson's novel).
It may not seem like the obvious follow-up, but it makes sense in that they're both deeply unsettling stories with a strong sense of place. Showrunner Mike Flanagan (Hush) has led both projects, and there are high hopes that The Haunting of Bly Manor will be similarly popular with viewers.
As with The Haunting of Hill House, Flanagan and producing partner Trevor Macy adapted the original work to expand scope and build out a longer, more in-depth series. In this case, it's said that they also added in aspects of some of James' other works, including The Jolly Corner and The Romance of Certain Old Clothes.
Of the process, Macy said:
…it’s a literary remix. You want to update the story, you want to find whatever fertile ground for elevating the character that you can in the source material, but we obviously took some liberties in updating it with a more modern setting.
The series has been updated and Americanised, so don't expect a truly faithful adaptation of the underlying work. It's set in 1987/
Who's In The Haunting of Bly Manor?
Some members of The Haunting of Hill House cast will return for The Haunting of Bly Manor, but in different parts. Victoria Pedretti, sister Nell in Hill House, will play American tutor Dani Clayton in Bly Manor.
11-year-old Benhamin Evan Ainsworth will play Miles Wingrave, while 9-year-old Amelia Bea Smith will take on the role of Flora.
The manager of Bly Manor, Hannah Grose, will be played by T'Nia Miller, and Henry Thomas will play the child-free uncle. Oliver Jackson-Cohen will portray Peter Quint, a calculating business associate of the uncle's – a character pulled directly from the original novella. He previously played the little brother in Hill House.
Amelia Eve will play groundskeeper Jamie, and Rahul Kohli will be the chef, Owen.
What is The Turn of the Screw About?
The Turn of the Screw is an 1898 novella that tells the story of a young governess who's been hired to move to the English countryside to look after two orphaned children. After the death of their parents, they were left in the care of an uncle who had no real interest in raising children. He put the governess in charge and told her not to bother him with communications. He stays in London, sending them off to Bly Manor in the countryside.
It's not long before the governess begins seeing signs of the supernatural – and events spiral out of control from there.
If you've never read the book, it's a delightful ghost story and fairly quick read.
When Does the Haunting at Bly Manor Premiere?
While an exact air date hasn't been released yet, the series is slated for 2020 – so there are just a few more months in which it could premiere. Based on last year's release date for The Haunting of Hill House (September 2019), it's not unreasonable to expect a similar air date for The Haunting of Bly Manor, but it's very possible the pandemic could push it back a bit.
We'll update this space when we know more.
Where Can I Watch a More Faithful Adaptation of The Turn of the Screw?
Now a huge fan of these modernised adaptations? Luckily, there have been some more traditional adaptations:
- The Turn of the Screw (1974) – Lynn Redgrave (The Jane Austen Book Club) stars in this feature-length adaptation of the Henry James classic.
- The Turn of the Screw (2009) – Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) and Nicola Walker (The Split) star in this version of the horror tale.
Will You Be Watching The Haunting of Bly Manor When it Premieres?
Will you check out this new series? Or is it just too modern and updated for your tastes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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