Netflix has nabbed the rights to The Watcher, an article about a real life stalker who menaced a New Jersey family.
Published in New York Magazine’s The Cut last month, it details the story of the Broaddus family, who closed on a six-bedroom house in Westfield, New Jersey back in 2014. While doing renovations to the home, though, a typed note appeared in their mailbox: “Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard, Allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood.”
The letter, though, took a sinister turn, as it spoke of the “force within” the house.
“657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming,” it added.
The article, written by Reeves Wiedeman, continues to chart the disturbing course of events, as the family changed plans from moving in to trying to sell the house on or have the land redeveloped.
The feature sparked interest in the family’s own struggles, and prompted a bidding war for the rights to adapt the piece for the screen. According to Deadline, everyone from Unvirsal and Warner Bros. to Paramount, Fox and Amazon were all interested. Netflix, though, won the heated contest, closing the rights to article with a reported seven-figure offer. They already have filmmakers attached to direct: Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3’s Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, with Eric Newman (Narcos) and Bryan Unkeless (I, Tonya) producing the project through their first-look Netflix deal.
Joost and Schulman are no strangers to Netflix: they are currently wrapping the film Power for the streaming giant, starring Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon Levitt.