Shirley Jackson’s controversial story The Lottery is finally making its way to the big-screen thanks to Kennedy/Marshall at Paramount. The classic tale, which first appeared in The New Yorker in 1948, caused quite an outrage with its brutality and graphic depiction of the vicious traditions of a small New England town.
Jake Wade Wall (The Hitcher) is penning the screenplay, while Shirley Jackson’s son, Laurence Hyman, will act as executive producer on the project. While this will be the first feature film based on the story, The Lottery has been adapted many times before, including a 1951 radio show and the 1996 NBC TV movie starring Keri Russell (editor's note: it was also kinda adapted by Marilyn Manson for Antichrist Superstar's "Man That You Fear" video, which explains the header image on this post).
Producer Frank Marshall had this to say about the project over at Deadline:
“I liked what Jake was doing in developing it and bringing up to the present day. It has a dystopian, Handmaid’s Tale feel about it, which makes it very timely. And, it has a great twist at the end.”
Those familiar with Jackson’s story will know the “great twist” to which he’s referring (spoilers for a 70 year old short story incoming): the town’s annual lottery begins with every member of the community drawing a piece of paper from a box until one of them selects the slip marked with a black spot, prompting the rest of the town to stone the "winner" to death for the sake of the town and their crops. Marshall’s reference to The Handmaid’s Tale seems a fitting and intriguing comparison, considering how timely the themes of mob mentality and injustice are in both stories.
We’ll keep you informed as more details about The Lottery develop. Meanwhile, we highly recommend you check out Jackson’s classic story.