More than 60 feature films and 25 TV series have been based on the works of legendary story telling master, Stephen King. Audiences have been treated to thrills, chills, twists, and even some heartwarming moments since Carrie appeared on the big screen in 1976. It is mind boggling to think of all the Stephen King adaptations over the past 4 decades.
Who can forget Jack Nicholson’s famous “Here’s Johnny!” from The Shining, or how about Kathy Bates very creepy “I’m your biggest fan.” from Misery. Didn’t we all shed a tear when John Coffey Walked The Green Mile? How about the touching coming of age story, Stand By Me, featuring a very young Wil Wheaton… “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” And, I would be remiss not to mention cult classic, The Shawshank Redemption. Tim Robbins portrayal of the wrongly accused Andy Dufresne was nothing short of brilliant! The fact that Shawshank was narrated by the one and only Morgan Freeman was like the icing on an already awesome cake. These are just a few examples of what Stephen King has given to the cinematic Universe. What is most impressive? He is not slowing down!
This summer alone, two TV series and two movies are planned, with more set for the fall and for early 2018. Take a look…
The Mist – A mysterious mist surrounds the town of Bridgton, Maine — yes, the real Bridgton, where the Kings own a home. Hidden in the mist are various horrifying, interdimensional creatures, who begin to attack the townsfolk. Premiering June 22 on Spike TV, this 10-episode TV series is an adaptation of King’s 1980 novella of the same name. The Mist stars Morgan Spector, Frances Conroy and Alyssa Sutherland.
The Dark Tower – “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” Actually, according to King and Arcel, this adaptation is written as a “sequel” to the events of the original series — for constant readers, that means Roland is on his last attempt to reach the Tower, but that he’ll still likely encounter many of the same characters from the book. Set to hit theaters on Aug. 4, this adaptation of King’s magnum opus has been in the works for about a decade, first as a movie, then a TV series, then a movie-TV series hybrid, and now, finally, as a real, honest-to-goodness movie. It’s directed by Nikolaj Arcel, and it stars Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black and Idris Elba as Roland Deschain.
Mr. Mercedes – A Mercedes plows into a crowd of people at a job fair, killing eight. Recently retired detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) receives a letter from the killer (Harry Treadaway), calling himself Mr. Mercedes. The game is afoot. A TV adaptation of King’s popular detective novel, Mr. Mercedes, produced by Waterville native and Boston Legal and Ally McBeal producer David E. Kelley, which will premiere on the Audience network on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
It – A group of unpopular kids in Derry, Maine — aka bizarro, bad news Bangor — find themselves taking on not just local bullies, but one of the biggest baddies ever: Pennywise, an evil being from another dimension, who takes the form of whatever it is you find most terrifying before he tries to eat you. One of the most hotly anticipated movies of 2017, the first trailer for this adaptation of King’s blockbuster 1986 book broke a YouTube record, with 197 million views within 24 hours of it being uploaded. The first part of this two-part movie is due out on Sept, 8, is directed by Andres Muschietti, and stars a crew of talented young actors as the “Losers Club,” with Bill Skarsgard taking on the role of the horrific supernatural being Pennywise.
Gerald’s Game – Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald Burlingame (Bruce Greenwood) spend a weekend in a remote cabin in the Maine woods in an attempt to spice up their marriage. Things go horribly, horribly awry. It’s definitely for grownups. If you’ve read Gerald’s Game, you know that it’s got to be one of the toughest King stories to adapt, with the majority of the action taking place in protagonist Jessie Burlingame’s head. And yet, horror director Mike Flanagan (Oculus and Hush) has done just that, with a feature film set to be released directly to Netflix sometime in fall 2017.
1922 – Set in the 1920s, a Nebraska rancher plots to murder his wife for financial gain, and convinces his son to help. It doesn’t go well. An adaptation of the novella 1922, from King’s 2010 collection of short stories, Full Dark, No Stars, directed by Zak Hilditch, set to be released directly to Netflix in late 2017. Starring Stephen King regular Thomas Jane (Dreamcatcher and The Mist) as the main character, Wilfred James.
Castle Rock – Speculation abounds, but it’s all based on one statement from producers back in February: it’s a “psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse” in a “few square miles of Maine woodland,” i.e. Castle Rock, the fictional Maine town that’s the setting for everything from Needful Things to The Body. They call the series “a first-of-its-kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories.” Though details are still shrouded in secrecy, a teaser trailer for a new Hulu TV series called Castle Rock came out in Feb. 2017. We know it’s produced by J.J. Abrams, he of the Star Wars and Star Trek reboots, and we know that filming is supposed to commence later this summer, with an expected 2018 release date.
It: Part Two – Those kids from the Losers Club? They’re 30 years older, and they’re back to finally vanquish their ultimate foe, Pennywise, for good. The second part of the movie adaptation of It. We don’t know when it’s coming out, though mid-to-late 2018 is a pretty safe bet. We don’t know if Andres Muschietti is still directing. We don’t know who is cast. We aren’t even 100 percent certain it’s actually happening — though at this point, it seems unlikely the second part won’t get made.
So let us rejoice my fellow Stephen King fans, 2017 looks promising! On screen or off screen though, it is my hope that Mr. King continues to share his gift for telling tales well into the future.
Source: Bangor Dailey News