Up-and-coming production house Penchant Entertainment has picked up the film and TV rights to Hostage to the Devil, the influential exorcism account by Father Malachi Martin.
Penchant principals Erin Eggers, Chase Hudson and Matthew Porter hope to simultaneously adapt different elements from the book into big-screen and small-screen projects. The trio will act as producers on the multiple adaptations.
Martin was a former Jesuit priest who became frequent critic and commentator of the Catholic Church while also becoming an expert in the field of exorcism. He is sometimes cited as an inspiration for William Blatty's famed novel, The Exorcist, a comparison that incensed the man, who wrote 17 books in his lifetime.
Originally published in 1976, Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans presented exorcism as an epic battle between priest and demon, showing how the fight can be personal in nature and can span a lifetime, exacting an enormous toll on the priest, who sacrifices a piece of his humanity each time he confronts these demonic forces.
The best-seller has sold more than a million copies and continues to resonate with modern readers; in 2016 Netflix produced a documentary on Martin and his book.
"Since its publication, Hostage to the Devil has been the canonical book on possession and exorcism and we are thrilled to finally be able to bring it to life," said Eggers. "With such vibrant, character-rich material at our disposal, our goal is to shatter genre expectations and reset the bar for elevated supernatural fare."
Penchant, launched earlier this year, is currently developing TV series The Scrawl, a supernatural thriller that has The Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer and Heroes Reborn's Zach Crawly writing. On the film side, the company is working on The Mean Tide, a thriller that has Shana Betz directing.
Gersh and Lila Karpf Literary Management repped the Martin estate.