Justin Long Is Making A Movie Based On A Viral Ghost Story

By Michileen Martin | 2 weeks ago

justin long

Back in August 2017, former BuzzFeed writer Adam Ellis told all of his followers on Twitter that the ghost of a young boy was haunting his apartment, and that it wanted him dead. In a long thread, Ellis described first encountering the specter in his dreams, but that it eventually appeared in the real world. Over a million followers and a movie deal later, and now Justin Long is set to star in the horror thriller Dear David, based on Ellis’ tweets.

On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter announced that filming has wrapped on Dear David, and delivered word about the film’s cast. Justin Long will play the head of BuzzFeed, who Ellis was still writing for when he first made his tweets about the ghost child. Playing the lead of the haunted Adam Ellis is Augustus Prew (Kick-Ass 2), who THR notes is one of the cast members for Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series. Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience) is in an undisclosed supporting lead role. Dear David will be directed by John McPhail. The same year Ellis began tweeting about his ghostly visitor, McPhail’s most well-known film was released — the British zombie musical Anna and the Apocalypse.

It was TheWrap who first broke the news in 2018 that a movie was being developed based on Adam Ellis’ tweets. Back then, It producer Dan Lin was developing the project for New Line, without Justin Long or any other cast members announced. Since then, the project moved to Lionsgate, with the studio and BuzzFeed collaborating on the project. Dear David will be the third joined effort between BuzzFeed and Lionsgate, including the upcoming 1UP and My Fake Boyfriend.

There has been, predictably, questions about whether Adam Ellis meant for his tweets about the ghost to be taken as reality, if it was all a creative social media experiment, or if he was trying to create exactly what has happened — a lucrative movie deal getting the attention of stars like Justin Long, along with a taste of fame. TheWrap asked Ellis about it in 2018, and the writer claims it was all real: “I just wanted to tell my story. If it was all fiction, I probably would’ve updated more than once every couple weeks!”

You can find all of Ellis’ tweets about the ghost named Dear David on his wakelet, including the inaugural tweet (above). In the long thread, he includes an artist’s rendition of Dear David, with a prominently misshapen head — dented in as if someone had dropped an anvil on one side of it. He posts photos of his cats who, according to Ellis, would be fixated on his front door every night at midnight. He eventually writes that along with first encountering Dear David in his dreams, he also has a dream set in a library when a girl (possibly Andrea Bang’s character?) comes up to him and tells him that Dear David will always appear at midnight. She adds that Ellis can ask him any two questions, but if he ever asks a third, Dear David will kill him.

Whether it’s real or fiction, it’s clear to see why a studio would be interested in recruiting actors like Justin Long to appear in a movie based on the story. There is no firm release date yet for Dear David. The thriller is expected to release some time in 2022.