It’s been nearly three months since writer and artist Adam Ellis last updated us on his child ghost/demonic presence/possible possession situation, but now, we’ve got a pretty big one: A “Dear David” movie has just been announced. TheWrap broke the news on Wednesday before Ellis himself confirmed it on Twitter, and, well… most people aren’t exactly surprised at this particular turn of events, but it’s making waves all the same.
According to TheWrap, Ellis and BuzzFeed Studios — BuzzFeed’s video and film production arm, which was formerly known as BuzzFeed Motion Pictures — came to an agreement in terms of bringing the story to the big screen; Ellis, you’ll recall, was a staffer at BuzzFeed when the Dear David story began, even writing a piece about his experiences that was subsequently published on the website. Together, they’re teaming up with Dan Lin, who recently produced the new adaptation of Stephen King’s IT, and Lin’s company, Rideback, to produce the flick; Jonathan Eirich and BuzzFeed Studios’ Lauren Dolgan and Hieu Ho will also share production credits. Mike Van Waes and Evan Turner will develop the story, with Van Waes — currently known for penning the upcoming The Conjuring spinoff The Crooked Man — attached to write and Turner set to executive produce.
Ellis confirmed the news on Wednesday night, tweeting a brief message along with an illustration of a director’s chair with the words “Dear David” scrawled across the back of it:
As the summer has approached, I’ve been curious about whether anything else related to the story would be forthcoming. After all, the one-year anniversary of the day it all began isn’t too far away; Ellis began his first Twitter thread about the whole thing on Aug. 7, 2017, describing everything from the strange dreams he’d been having to how his cats had begun behaving late at night:
And, indeed, it’s likely that the activity had already begun by this time last year: As Ellis noted in that very first thread, a couple of months had gone by between when he first began dreaming about David and when he began tweeting about it:
But although the story went on for an impressive amount of time — nearly eight months — it started to peter out by February. After some updates early in 2018 that seemed to imply David had taken over or possessed Ellis, all we got were a few strange videos of Ellis’ cat, Maxwell, meowing at his apartment’s front door:
And then, a month later, this message:
Beyond that, Ellis’ Twitter feed has gone back to showcasing more typical content, and as far as anyone knew, the story had mostly drawn to a close.
Until now, of course.
Reactions on Twitter to the news that Dear David is set to become a movie have been… well, pretty much what you’d expect. A number of folks are commenting about how this confirms that it was fiction all along:
While others are noting that, fictional or not, it was still a good story, and the idea of a film based off it has promise:
I tend to fall in the latter category. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think Dear David was an exceptionally well-told piece of fiction which I enjoyed immensely; what’s more, I think a movie adapting the story could be quite interesting, indeed — if, that is, the form it takes is just as creative as its original medium was. What made the tale of Dear David so fascinating was the way it used social media, so here’s hoping a film made out of it will tap into that sort of outside-the-box storytelling.
Ellis, however, maintains that his story was all real. He said as much in several tweets responding to accusations that everything was made up, writing, “You act like they don’t make movies about real events all the time. My haunting went viral and they decided to make a movie. Pretty simple,” and, “I’m not interested in convincing anyone, I’m just trying to live my life. If you don’t wanna believe that’s fine! No worries.” He also told TheWrap, “I’ve never been interested in convincing anyone that ghosts are real — I just wanted to tell my story. If it was all fiction, I probably would’ve updated more than once every couple weeks!”
Ellis elaborated briefly about his perspective on the whole thing in an additional interview with TheWrap, noting that he didn’t really have a “process” for telling the story — “I just updated whenever something would happen. I’d typically update at night since it gave me time to process what was going on (and I also had a day job at the time),” he said — and that the impact his experiences have had surprised him. “I definitely didn’t anticipate any of it,” he told TheWrap. “The number of film and TV producers who have reached out to me directly has been really staggering, and I’m excited to see my experience translated to the screen.”
Whether or not the story is true, it looks like a new chapter is just beginning — which, of course, prompts one very important question:
What if this was David’s plan all along?
Cue the spooky music!
For the full run-down on everything that happened over the course of the story, head here.