Pop Quiz! Which author has more TV and film adaptations of their work than Stephen King? Answer: None!
OK, maybe this is not earth-shattering news; King is a prolific author who's constantly churning out hits. He already has several dozen TV and film adaptations under his belt and yet the hits just keep coming. It's no surprise that he's one of Hollywood's go-to authors when they're looking for good ideas to put on film. Here's an update on the latest Stephen King stories that will be coming soon to a theater or television near you…
THE STORY: King's 1977 claustrophobic novel The Shining, about the Torrance family's seasonal stay acting as caretakers for the remote Overlook Hotel, is a fan favorite. It became a global favorite 3 years later when Stanley Kubrick adapted it into a creepy film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. King wrote a sequel to The Shining in 2013. Doctor Sleep picks up the story of Dan Torrance, now a middle-aged man, who works in a nursing home. Dan uses his remnant shining power to provide comfort to the dying. When Dan meets twelve-year-old Abra Stone, he knows he's witnessing the most powerful shining he's ever seen. Dan's past demons summon him to protect Abra from a quasi-immortal cult that harvests the energy obtained from shining children by slowly torturing them to death.
THE ADAPTATION: An upcoming Warner Bros. film adaptation of Doctor Sleep will be directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, The Haunting of Hill House). Flanagan will also rewrite the script which was originally adapted by Akiva Goldsman. The film will star Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance.
SUGGESTED TITLE: Redrum Part II: The Reddening.
THE STORY: A horrific murder takes place in Flint City and all evidence points to one of the city's most popular citizens. Terry Maitland is a Little League coach, an English teacher, a husband and father of two girls. How can such a well-liked man hurt an eleven-year-old boy? That's what Detective Ralph Anderson wonders, too. His son was once coached by Maitland, and Anderson, evidence in hand, orders a quick and very public arrest to put the matter to rest. But as the investigation begins, horrifying answers begin to emerge that tell the real story...
THE ADAPTATION: The Outsider was just recently released and news of this adaptation broke soon after. The novel was optioned by Media Rights Capital, who also adapted King's The Dark Tower. The option calls for a 10-episode limited series adaptation. It will be written by Richard Price (The Wire). Stephen King himself has the option to join as executive producer.
SUGGESTED TITLE: I Didn't Do it. Or Did I…?
The Long Walk
THE STORY: The Long Walk has the distinction of being the first novel King ever wrote, although it was not published until 1979, as part of the pseudonymous Stephen King collection The Bachman Books. The story is set in a dystopian future America ruled by a militaristic dictator. The title refers to a grueling annual contest in which 100 teenage boys must keep walking at four miles per hour without stopping or be shot by the guards that follow them and keep them on the path. The last one standing is declared the winner of the contest and gets anything he wants for the rest of his life.
THE ADAPTATION: New Line Cinema (which is adapting King's two-part film It) has optioned The Long Walk. James Vanderbilt (Truth) is writing the screenplay and will also act as producer alongside Bradley Fischer and William Sherak. The book was previously optioned by Frank Darabont, who adapted other King stories (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist).
SUGGESTED TITLE: My Feet Hurt!
THE STORY: King's 2002 novel (his second one about a supernatural car, the other being 1983's Christine) is told through recollections by the members of Troop D, a state police barracks in western Pennsylvania. Twenty-three years beforehand, Ned's recently deceased father, a member of Troop D, came across a very strange automobile—one that appears to be a 1954 Buick Roadmaster. The mysterious Buick, left behind after its driver disappeared, has a steering wheel that doesn't move, a fake dashboard, wires that go nowhere, and an engine with no moving parts. The car is also impervious to damage. Recognizing an object of evil when they see one, Troop D locked the car away in a shed where it's been sitting for more than two decades. Now, Ned thinks the car has something to do with his father's death.
THE ADAPTATION: After several previous failed attempts to adapt this novel, it looks like it's finally on again. Hyde Park Entertainment has optioned the film rights and named William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) to write the script and direct it.
SUGGESTED TITLE: Christine II: Electric Buick-a-loo
"The Bone Church"
THE STORY: If you haven't heard of King's "The Bone Church," it's because you haven't been keeping up with King's also-prolific short fiction output. Originally written for Playboy magazine in 2009 (adapted from a recollection of poem read in the 1960s) and collected in 2015's The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, "The Bone Church" is a narrative poem about a bar patron who, in exchange for drinks, recounts his story. He is one of three survivors of an expedition of thirty-two people who explored the jungles of some unnamed land to find the mythical Bone Church. Despite its terse writing, the poem is pure King, with maybe a little bit of Rudyard Kipling thrown in for good measure.
THE ADAPTATION: Despite being less than 20 stanzas in length, King's lyrical (and creepy) poem is being adapted as a television series by Chris Long and David Ayer of Cedar Park Entertainment. Long was an executive producer on another King television adaptation: Mr. Mercedes.
SUGGESTED TITLE: Gunga King
"In The Tall Grass"
THE STORY: This novella-sized story, co-written with his son Joe Hill (a successful bestselling author in his own right), is about the strange goings-on at an abandoned roadside rest stop. There, siblings Cal and Becky Demuth hear a small boy calling for help. The nearby sound is emerging from a field of tall grass. When Cal and Becky investigate, they feel disoriented and become separated. As the boy's cries become more desperate, so too does Cal's and Becky's predicament.
THE ADAPTATION: Netflix is adapting this story with an immediate production schedule.
James Marsden (Westworld) is in negotiations to star. Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) wrote the screenplay and will direct.
SUGGESTED TITLE: Don't Go Into The Grass, My God, Don't Go Into The Grass
THE STORY: This short story from King's 1978 collection Night Shift is framed as a discussion between Dr. Harper, a psychiatrist, and his patient, Lester Billings. Billings recounts the story of the deaths of his three young children, each of whom cried "Boogeyman!" on the nights that they died. When they were found, the closets in their rooms were slightly ajar despite being closed when they went to sleep. I'll give you one guess who lives there.
THE ADAPTATION: Film rights were optioned by 20th Century Fox. Scott Beck & Bryan Woods, who wrote the hit horror film A Quiet Place, are attached to adapt the screenplay.
SUGGESTED TITLE: Don't Go Into The Closet, My God, Don't Go Into The Closet