There’s been an odd resurgence in the past seven, eight months for both Stephen King and Steven Spielberg – the former, author of scores of fictional horror and sci-fi staples of old (many of which have made their way to the big screen), and the latter, perhaps one of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors. The latest adaptation of King’s It went on to become the most financially successful horror movie of all time last year – and to say that Spielberg’s Ready Player One received considerable hype online is putting it mildly to say the least! It seems that the worlds of King and Spielberg may be set to merge very soon indeed – with the latter having paid tribute to the former’s cinematic adaptation of The Shining in Ready Player One last month.
It’s perhaps hard to believe that neither Stephen (or should that be Steven?) have ever worked together on a project – though Spielberg did act as executive producer for Under the Dome, a TV adaptation of King’s work of the same name – meaning that their forthcoming convergence on an adaptation of King’s book The Talisman (written with Peter Straub) – has been a long time coming. This is even more the case when you consider that Spielberg has had outright ownership of the rights to the book since 1982, according to ShortList.
“Universal bought the book for me, so it wasn’t optioned,” Spielberg confirmed. “I’m not committing to the project as a director, I’m just saying that it’s something that I’ve wanted to see come to theaters for the last 35 years.” Spielberg made it clear that he would be hoping to get The Talisman brought to the big screen in ‘the next couple of years’ – and as the original novel is suitably epic by King’s standards (it really is a monster read), it will remain to be seen quite what Spielberg’s take on the story is.
King’s books have been variously successful and unsuccessful on the big screen in almost equal measures – consider classics such as Carrie, It, The Shining, Christine, Pet Sematary – and less-than-favorable trips to the theater such as last year’s The Dark Tower, the bizarre TV movie The Langoliers and The Lawnmower Man – which was based on a story by King but which the author refused to have any connection with upon release. This means an adaptation of The Talisman could be make or break – will Spielberg look carefully at lessons learned from The Dark Tower and pay more attention to the success of It? Let’s wait and see.