Home > Free Extras > Stephen King News


Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #166

Mr. Mercedes debuted in the #1 position on the Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction list and #2 on USA Today’s mixed fiction list (which includes paperbacks). There is a lot of associational material to explore at King’s official website. For example, there’s The Basement, an interactive adventure that takes you into Brady’s domain, where you can delve into the things that are stored on his array of PCs. For some clues on how to get started, it helps to watch the video of Brady’s letter to Detective Hodges. There’s also a book trailer, a saucy TV commercial, an excerpt from the audio book, some “merch” at the Cafe Press store, and a letter from KingTemple Hill and Media Rights Capital have acquired the movie rights to the novel. King talks about the real-life incident that inspired the novel here, but to-date he has only given one interview. There’s also a collection of many of the reviews on his site, and I have another collection of reviews here.

Hodder & Stoughton also produced a whimsical series of promos in which the villain of Mr. Mercedes is introduced by the likes of Annie Wilkes, Carrie White, Andy Dufresne, Pennywise and Danny Torrance.

The big news, of course, is the fact that Mr. Mercedes is the first book in a proposed trilogy. King has already finished the first draft of the second novel, which will be called Finders Keepers. The tentative publication date is sometime in the first half of 2015. King says that the three books “seem to revolve around the City Center Massacre that opens Mr. Mercedes.”

Before we get to Finders Keepers, though, we have Revival, which comes out in November. The newly released paperback edition of Doctor Sleep contains an eight-page excerpt of that novel. And there is a good possibility of a collection in late 2015, bringing together all of the recent short story appearances, including some of those that you can find on my list here. No word yet on whether there will be any brand new stories in the collection. The third book in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy will presumably be out in 2016. I don’t think we’ve known King’s publication schedule so far in advance since 1986-7, when we knew about the next four books he planned to publish.

Big news for people who haven’t had a chance to see Ghost Brothers of Darkland County yet. The musical play will go on tour this fall, with dates in Orono, Toronto, Philadelphia, Durham, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Red Bank, N.J., Portland, ME, Boston, Providence, New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco in November and December. See the announcement here.

Just a few weeks until the return of Under the Dome, with the first episode scripted by King. You can see a 30-second clip of King reading the opening section of the episode. On June 23, CBS will run Inside Chester’s Mill, a one-hour special that features highlights from last season and new interviews with the cast and executive producers. In addition, the special will have an advance sneak peek at the season two premiere. The second season will be missing its original showrunner and executive producer Brian K. Vaughan.

Although it had a premiere in New York in April, there’s been very little news about the fate of the film version of A Good Marriage. Last week, though, it was announced that Screen Media Films acquired North American rights to the film, with plans to distribute it in early October, with a nationwide theatrical release accompanied by a day-and-date VOD platform release. “I’m delighted that A Good Marriage is going to be available to the movie going public very soon, and hope we can scare the hell out of millions of people,” King said. “To me, that’s always an exciting prospect.”

Josh Boone, currently riding high with his film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, promises a three-hour R-rated single film adaptation of The Stand with “an amazing A-list cast across the board…Every single one of those characters will be somebody you recognize and somebody you relate to. And it’s gonna be awesome.” The only person named as a potential cast member is Nat Wolff. Of course, Boone isn’t the first director to try to get a grip on this remake.

In other movie news, the story that is thus far only available in French and German, Bad Little Kid, has been optioned by Laurent Bouzereau , who wrote and directed the 2011 TCM film A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King, which featured King discussing horror films and their popularity with moviegoers.

Oculus and Somnia director Mike Flanagan has committed todirect Gerald’s Game. Flanagan wrote the script with his writing partner Jeff Howard. There’s also an unconfirmed rumor that Gravity director director Alfonso has been approached to direct a prequel to The Shining titled The Overlook Hotel.

TNT is developing  a TV series called The Shop, billed as a sequel to Firestarter. The drama centers on the insidious agency responsible for kidnapping and attempting to exploit the psychokinetic powers of a young girl named Charlie McGee in the original story. Now it’s 20 years later and Charlie has been tracked down by one of The Shop’s former members, Henry Talbot, who introduces her to a group of people with their own unique abilities. From the announcement: “It turns out The Shop is very much alive, bigger and badder than ever, and its dark experiments are unleashing terrifying new entities on the world. It’s now up to Talbot, Charlie and the rest of the team to find The Shop and destroy it for good.”

Here’s a fun dialog between King and Damon Lindelof, as captured by Entertainment Weekly.

The Marvel graphic novel adaptation of the Dark Tower series returns in September with the five-issue series The Prisoner, which tells the backstory of Eddie Dean before he met Roland. You can check out the cover and the first pages here. The artist is Piotr Kowalski. Here’s the promo text: As this tale of urban crime opens, you’ll meet Eddie Dean as an innocent child who grows into a troubled young man gifted with the ability to open doors to other worlds. Can he survive family tragedy, a haunting addiction, and the deadly forces that conspire to stop him from challenging the Man in Black? Eddie faces trials and tribulations at every turn – and the badlands of Mid-World can’t hold a candle to the dangers of Brooklyn in the 1960s! Witness the story of a young man on the path to an unlikely destiny and the most important journey of his life.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #165

NFTDZ REVIEW: MR. MERCEDES

By Bev Vincent

In early 2011, en route from Florida to Maine, Stephen King watched the evening news in his roadside hotel. One item was about a woman who had an altercation with another in line at a job fair. The attacker got into her car and drove it into the crowd. King decided that he wanted to write about the incident, although he didn’t know how at the time.

He came up with what he thought would be a short story about a psychopath who deliberately runs his car into a crowd of people. After the detective handling the case retires, the perpetrator writes him a taunting letter, bragging about how much he enjoyed killing and maiming all those people. He won’t get caught, he states, because he doesn’t plan to do it again. The cop should just give up and eat his gun. The idea blossomed into a 450-page novel, King’s first foray into straight crime fiction at book length, although he has written a number of non-supernatural crime short stories in the past.

Mr. Mercedes opens with the attack at the job fair. In a dozen pages, King introduces us to a few characters, makes us grow fond of them as only he can, and then throws the 12-cylinder Mercedes into the fray, ripping apart everything he so carefully constructed.

Det.-Ret. Bill Hodges has been sitting at home for six months, watching afternoon reality TV shows and toying with the idea of killing himself. When he retired, he left behind a number of open/unsolved cases, including a serial killer and a Scott Peterson-style missing wife, so he isn’t obsessing over the so-called Mercedes Killer in particular. If the perpetrator had left well enough alone—if he hadn’t decided to poke Hodges with a sharp stick—then his reign of terror might have continued unchecked, culminating in his magnum opus, the incident that forms the book’s climax.

Brady Hartfield is beginning to think he’s invincible. When he plunged the car into the crowd, he thought there was a very good chance he’d be caught, perhaps even ripped to shreds by witnesses, and was okay with that. The fact that he got away has emboldened him. He tells Hodges in his carefully crafted letter that he has no intention of repeating his crime, that he’s content to relive it in his mind, but Hodges knows better. He’s caught many “perks” like his unknown interlocutor, and he has an idea that the Mercedes Killer will strike again.

The poison pen letter was meant to goad Hodges into killing himself, but it has the opposite effect: it spurs him into action. Rather than turning the letter over to his former partner in the police department of this unnamed, economically depressed Mid-West city (the same one that was the setting for Rose Madder?), Hodges opens his own file on the Mercedes Killer and embarks on an off-the-books investigation.

Aiding Hodges is Jerome, the computer-savvy, Ivy League bound teenager who mows his lawn. The Mercedes Killer offers to communicate with Hodges via an anonymous website called Under Debbie’s Blue Umbrella (hence the book’s cover image) but Hodges is afraid to use his own computer in case he inadvertently gives the killer access to his hard drive. Once the connection is established, it doesn’t take him long to get under his adversary’s skin. He knows it doesn’t take much to trip up a killer: Son of Sam was caught thanks to a parking ticket.

Thus ensues a cat and mouse game, though it’s often not clear who is pursuing whom. Hartfield is young, brash, profane, bigoted, and mostly lacking in conscience. He still lives with his alcoholic mother—his father died in a work-related accident—and his relationship with her makes Norman Bates look well-adjusted. His younger brother died under mysterious circumstances. He works two jobs that provide him with access to his targets without raising suspicions. In his basement he has a rank of computers and a sophisticated voice-activated security system to prevent his secrets from falling into the wrong hands. Ominously, he also has a cache of homemade plastic explosives.

The book’s contemporary action is told in the present tense, something King doesn’t often use. Past tense is reserved for flashbacks distributed throughout the book. Though the prose is generally straightforward, Mr. Mercedes has some very nice turns of phrase. He describes a room “as big as a politician’s promises” and a warehouse yard “filled with empty boxes that stood around like Easter Island monoliths.”

Hodges is an unlikely hero. He put in his forty years with the police, but in the process he lost his wife to divorce and has an adult daughter who calls dutifully once a week but whom he hasn’t seen in two years. He’s grossly overweight—a heart attack waiting to happen, assuming he doesn’t shoot himself with his father’s gun first. When he was on the job, though, he had one of the best records in the department, and he’s still near the top of his game when he sets his sights on the Mercedes Killer. He’s an everyman, eminently likeable. Someone readers can root for. He’s so desperate for something to keep himself from spiraling into depression and despair, though, that he makes a few questionable choices, paramount among them his decision to keep his investigation a secret from his former colleagues. Hartfield may have poked him with a stick, but he pokes back twice as hard, and goading a killer who revels in inflicting maximum harm to maximum people isn’t a good idea.

Hodges begins to question the way he and his partner treated Olivia Trelawney, the owner of the Mercedes SL that Hartfield drove into the crowd. She became collateral damage because they suspected she left her key in the ignition, thus providing the killer with his weapon. She was pilloried in the press and questioned mercilessly and repeatedly by Hodges and his partner. Eventually she overdosed on Oxy. However, Hodges now wonders if the killer somehow played a part in her death. Once he starts digging around, he learns things about Trelawney that didn’t turn up during the initial investigation. He also becomes involved with other members of Trelawney’s family, including her vivacious sister Janey, who inherited the substantial estate—much to the strident dismay of other relatives—and cousin Holly (“the Mumbler”), a fortysomething with emotional problems who acts like a teenager but who comes alive once she meets Hodges.

Though Hodges is the book’s protagonist, and it features several other engaging and lovable characters, Mr. Mercedes’ biggest accomplishment is the title character, Brady Hartfield, one of the most twisted villains in King’s oeuvre. King doesn’t hide the identity of the madman from readers, so this isn’t a whodunit. Hodges doesn’t know who the Mercedes Killer is until late in the proceedings, but readers see Hartfield going about his daily life, pretending to be human. He doesn’t have friends, but he can be friendly, in a Dexter Morgan kind of way. His mother loves him (maybe a little too much!) and he’s able to hold down jobs. His head is full of crazy thoughts, and it’s fortunate that he only acts on a fraction of them. King doesn’t make him the least bit sympathetic or likeable. There’s a tragic backstory, of course, but make no mistake about it: Hartfield is a human monster. He schemes to make Hodges’ life miserable by targeting those around him, but his plans don’t always work as intended. His first gambit goes tragically wrong for him, and his second has significant implications for Hodges, making him question his decision to take on a madman solo.

Once things kick into high gear and Hartfield starts planning his end game, the suspense never lets up. For a while, Hodges and his ragtag gang of helpers are so far off the mark that it seems like Hartfield might go completely unchallenged in his last hurrah, but the pieces start to fall into place, culminating in a tense and nerve-wracking finale.

Crossovers

Since Mr. Mercedes takes place in the “real world,” Keystone Earth if you will, the place where time runs in only one direction and there are no do-overs, you shouldn’t expect any significant crossovers to King’s other books. The Crimson King isn’t behind Brady Hartfield’s actions, and there’s no grand cosmic plan. The stakes are simple human lives. However, that doesn’t mean there are no nods to familiar King tropes. Christine is mentioned, as is Pennywise, but the references are to the fictional versions of them—the movie about the haunted car and the insane clown from that TV movie. In other words, they are referenced in the same way we would mention them: as popular fiction icons that come to mind in certain situations.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #164

In case you haven’t heard the news yet, Cemetery Dance recently announced a deal to create Deluxe Special Editions of the six books King published with Doubleday. The series launches this summer with Carrie. Check the link for specifics, including the artist, cover art, and the extra material that will appear in the book.

We’re less than two months away from the publication date of Mr. Mercedes, and the first reviews have started to show up. Publishers Weekly’s review came first, calling it a “suspenseful crime thriller” and lauding King for his disturbing portrait of the book’s villain, Brady, “a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase ‘the banality of evil.’” Then came the Booklist review, which concludes: “No need to rev the engine here; this baby will rocket itself out of libraries with a loud squeal of the tires.” My review will appear in the next issue of Cemetery Dance magazine, but I loved it. I’ve been waiting for King to write a non-supernatural crime novel for ages and at last my wish is granted. And PW is right: Brady is one twisted guy. He’s not at all sympathetic, but he’s fascinating. And Bill Hodges is a comfortable narrator / protagonist to spend five hundred pages with. The audiobook will be narrated by Will Patton.

King’ second book of the year is Revival, which will be out on November 11. Here is the synopsis:

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

To thank all his German and French fans for their warm welcome during his Doctor Sleep book tour last fall, King wrote a novella, “Bad Little Kid”, which is available in e-book format in German (Böser kleiner Junge) and French (Sale Gosse). You can’t buy it in the US at the moment, but it is available in Canada and the UK (but not in English). I wrote an article / review for FEARnet, probably my last piece for that market, which was gobbled up by Comcast last week.

And, no, he isn’t writing a sequel to Christine called Christine Lives as was announced on April 1.

King will appear in a cameo role in the first episode of the second season of Under the Dome, which launches on June 30. According to an article in USA Today, he wrote the episode, titled “Heads Will Roll,” and will show up in the town’s diner as “just a citizen of Chester’s Mill for at least the moment.” Check out the article for a photo of King being served coffee at Sweet Briar Rose. Several new characters will be introduced this season, including barbershop owner Lyle Chumley (Dwight Yoakam), Big Jim’s late wife Pauline (Sherry Stringfield), his brother-in-law, Sam Verdreaux (Eddie Cahill), teacher Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome), Greg (Dwayne Boyd), and Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox), a character pulled from the lake by Julia at the end of the first season. If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out this promotional video of King “tweeting from the set.”

During his Emerald City Comicon Secret Origins panel, Peter David revealed that Marvel will resume adapting the Dark Tower series with The Drawing of the Three, without providing any timeline. He told the story of how he pitched the idea when King came to visit him while he was convalescing after suffering a stroke.

In other comic news, Walter Simonson’s 22-page Lawnmower Man Artist’s Edition portfolio, collecting the entire story into a deluxe portfolio from IDW, is set to arrive in time for San Diego’s Comic-Con International in July.

King has a short non-fiction piece called “The Ring” in Tin House, Issue, 59, Volume 15, Number 3. The theme for the issue is Memory and King’s 2-page essay is about their wedding rings and the day they got married.

He and Karen Russell talk about their books Doctor Sleep and Sleep Donation in this interview posted at Goodreads.

Joyland, which is now available as an e-book for the first time, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar in the Best Paperback Original category. Doctor Sleep was nominated for a Thriller Award in the Best Hardcover Novel category by the International Thriller Writers.

The latest movie adaptation, A Good Marriage, premieres in New York on Thursday, April 24.

Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is in early talks to take over as director of The Stand for Warner Bros. and CBS Films. He will be at least the fourth potential director for this project. Boone is also currently attached to direct a movie version of Lisey’s Story.

Cary Fukunaga, fresh off his recent success directing HBO’s True Detective, is working on a script for the two-part remake of It. It appears that the first part will be about the kids and the second part about the adults. Fukunaga said, “There will be no spider at the end of our movie. We’re definitely honoring the spirit of Stephen King, but the horror has to be modernized to make it relevant. That’s my job, right now, on this pass. I’m working on making the horror more about suspense than visualization of any creatures. I just don’t think that’s scary. What could be there, and the sounds and how it interacts with things, is scarier than actual monsters.”

The SyFy series Haven was renewed for 26 more episodes, 13 to air this year and 13 for 2015, although they are all supposedly part of a single season. In a related concept, Universal TV is adapting the short story “Ayana” into a TV drama set in a world of miracles. The series has not been picked up by a network yet, though.

King has been interviewed for the PBS series Finding Your Roots, where “we trace people’s habitypes, which tell where your ancestors came from.” Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ interview with King will air later this year.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #163

A quick update because a couple of interesting things have come to light over the past few days. First, a report from Quint at Ain’t It Cool News reveals that Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul has taken a few meetings regarding the possibility that he might play Eddie Dean in Ron Howard’s adaptation of The Dark Tower.

Then, the very next day, someone known only as “The Phantom” claimed that Media Rights Capital (MRC) will be funding a $60 million version of the first film and that Liam Neeson is in the running to play Roland. MRC recently produced Elysium. The information about MRC is in line with earlier reports (as is the possibility that Netflix could do the TV component of the adaptation), but the source is anonymous, so file this one under “unconfirmed rumor.”

Under the Dome will return on June 30, with an episode written by King. In a trailer for Season 2 that debuted at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, viewers see that two favorite characters won’t survive the first episode and there will be an unexpected kiss.

King’s three year-end best-of essays appeared in the same double issue (Issue 1291/1292 dated 12/27/13 and 1/3/14) of Entertainment Weekly at the end of December. Since the essays won’t be on EW’s website, they were posted at King’s message board.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #162

Scribner has released their description of Mr. Mercedes, King’s next novel, which will be out on June 3, 2014.


In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

 In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

 Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

 Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

This is just one of two novels we’ll see next year, the other being Revival. There’s a new King short story, “Summer Thunder,” in the CD anthology Turn Down the Lights. Editor Rich Chizmar says it “might be one of the most heartbreaking post-apocalyptic tales we’ve ever read.”

King joined Twitter late last week. Within minutes he had 30,000 followers and the number has since climbed to nearly 200,000. You don’t need to join Twitter to see his feed, though. Just click here.

Samuel L. Jackson will play Tom McCourt in the movie adaptation of Cell, joining John Cusack for the second time (1408). There were some amusing follow-up articles in which Jackson confessed that he didn’t know that his character was gay in the novel. The film will be directed by Tod “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2). Production is scheduled to begin in January.

Long-time King fan Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) plans to adapt Lisey’s Story. King had a cameo in Boone’s debut, Stuck in Love. Boone talks about how King responded when he sent some books to be autographed when he was 12 in this article.

Add another title to the list of remakes or reworkings. Bob Weinstein is developing a proposed 10-part series with Frank Darabont, based on Dimension’s film version of The Mist. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) is in talks to direct Pet Sematary. The day after it was announced that Scott Cooper was considering Christian Bale for the theatrical version of The Stand, the director left the project. Paul Greengrass is now being courted to help the film. Cary Fukunaga is currently attached to the remake of It.

Doctor Sleep link roll:

European tour:

In closing, here is my review of the campy horror film You Can’t Kill Stephen King, which should get US distribution in 2014.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #161 (Doctor Sleep edition)

Doctor Sleep, which has been out for less than a week, went straight to the top of all of the major bestseller lists. According to USA Today, it is King’s seventh book to debut at #1 since he moved to Scribner in 1998. For those of you who think that the book’s ending invites yet another sequel, King told USA Today that Doctor Sleep will be “my first and only solo sequel.”

Scribner made a book trailer for the novel that has some creepy scenes drawn from the text. They also created an interactive website for Doctor Sleep, which requires you to have the Chrome browser on your desktop and iPhone. An audio excerpt narrated by Will Patton can be found here.

King did a brief tour in support of the book, with appearances in New York, Boulder and Boston. Here is a report from Boulder. He will appear (with son Owen, who was also at the east coast appearances) in Toronto on October 24. In mid-November, he will go on a limited European tour (Paris, Munich and Hamburg). All the details about those events can be found here.

He also did a few interviews, including these:

The reviews have been, for the most part, very positive. Here is a selection from the major outlets:

You can find my review in Cemetery Dance #70. I joined the Lilja and Lou podcast for a discussion of The Shining leading up to Doctor Sleep’s publication day. Apparently it was the most listened-to installment of their podcast series. I also wrote a brief article for the Early Reader’s Club about crossovers between Doctor Sleep and other novels (not just King’s). I don’t think I’ve ever had an online article generate that many comments!

The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for The Shining, has been getting a little press of late, too. There was a report that they plan to dig up and relocate a pet cemetery on the grounds and Yahoo Homes presented a pictorial tour of the hotel.

The sequel has also renewed discussion of the Kubrick adaptation of The Shining, including a couple of pieces in Salon: The Shining’s horrifying misogyny and What Stanley Kubrick got wrong about The Shining. Well, other than the miniseries, there’s always the opera version. The what?

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #160 (Under the Dome recap)

As everyone prepares to get copies of Doctor Sleep tomorrow or perhaps even head out to Boulder or NY or Boston to see King, I thought I’d talk about Under the Dome, which wrapped its first season last week. I’ll be back later with my Doctor Sleep coverage—or you can check out my review in issue #70 of Cemetery Dance.

Not everyone was enamored of the show. One objection was that some people went into it thinking they were committing to a limited-run miniseries instead an open-ended, ongoing series. When it was renewed, there were howls from some quarters, even though that was always the producers’ hope.

The biggest complaint, though, was the degree to which it departed from the novel. Every Tuesday morning, the woman in the office next to mine would stop at my door, express her frustration at the most recent changes, shake her head, and continue on to her desk. Stephen King wrote an open later defending the changes on his website after only a couple of episodes had aired. He said, “I’m enjoying the chance to watch that alternate reality play out; I still think there’s no place like Dome.”

The writers and producers didn’t sneak these changes into the story. The opening scene features Dale Barbara burying Peter Shumway’s body. That was as clear an announcement as any that this wasn’t Uncle Stevie’s Under the Dome, for better or for worse.

In my opinion, mostly for the better. If the TV series had followed the novel to the letter, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.

But let’s be clear. It won’t go down in the annals as one of the best TV shows ever. This isn’t Lost or Breaking Bad. Why? It’s hard to put a finger on the reason. I didn’t mind that I often didn’t get to see an episode until a day or two after it aired, whereas missing Lost was a major crisis. Under the Dome is a show about mysteries, and the characters are intriguing, but it doesn’t have that frisson that comes with the crème-de-la-crème of television. The acting is generally satisfactory but not award-worthy. The writing is mostly decent. The story is engrossing. The special effects can be quite good at times. Faint praise, but praise nonetheless.

The show delivered consistently strong ratings, with more than 10 million people watching most episodes. The final episode had the second-highest viewership of the season, after the premiere. Compare that to Breaking Bad, which peaked at 6.4 million viewers. It had strong support from the network and from its cast. Dean Norris (Big Jim) was one of its biggest advocates. My Twitter stream during the hour the episode ran was overrun by cast members commenting on the episode. I’m still not 100% sold on the concept of live tweeting—is it wise to distract viewers from the show?—but the level of commitment is encouraging.

Let’s talk about the characters. Every one of them departs from the novel versions in some aspect. Angie lives on the TV show, whereas she’s dead (but not gone) throughout the book. “Scarecrow” Joe is older than his novel counterpart; Julie Shumway is younger (and hotter). Maxine Seagrave, Norrie Calvert’s moms, and several other characters are new to the series. Few are “sacred,” in the sense that just about anyone could be killed.

In general, they’re more ambiguous in the TV show. At times you feel bad for Big Jim, or you think that he might redeem himself. Similarly with Junior, who is basically a confused and disturbed young man seeking his father’s approval and love. On the other hand, Barbie has aspects to his personality that aren’t so laudable.

This added depth is intriguing. Consider Linda, who is forced into the role of chief lawkeeper after Duke dies (and how great would it have been if Jeff Fahey had stuck around a little longer?). Her allegiances drift over the course of the thirteen episodes. Some complained about inconsistent characterization, but in Linda’s case, she’s simply befuddled and confused. She’s not privy to as much information as viewers are. Swayed by stronger personalities and overwhelmed by the demands of her job. By contrast, Maxine, who was uniformly and delightfully evil wasn’t all that interesting

Unlike in the book, there is weather inside the dome. This is more of a filming consideration than a deliberate decision on the part of the writers, but it gives them some interesting things to play with. The dome itself is different, too. It seems sentient. It communicates via Lost-like apparitions, but also displays a temper, sending massive storms when it’s displeased. However, it also sends needed rain, so it’s not altogether hostile, and we learn late in the season that the dome claims to be protecting the people of Chester’s Mill, although from what we don’t yet know. And then there’s the egg. Is it the generator or something more? Have we seen the last of it, now that it’s at the bottom of the lake?

The producers promised that they wouldn’t make us wait for the answers to some of the big mysteries, and they were true to their word. We found out why Barbie was burying Julia’s husband. We found out why Big Jim was stockpiling propane. The mysterious “pink stars are falling” mantra began to make some sense with the revelations about Big Jim’s dead wife. We even learned something of the nature of the dome, though not everything. It appears that some extraterrestrial force is at work, though one less capricious and juvenile than what King created in his novel. Was I surprised that Julia ended up being the monarch? In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have been. After all, she was the narrator, and I’d found myself wondering from time to time why that was. It makes sense now.

Will I be back for the second season? Yes, definitely. I doubt that Barbie is going to dangle (did anyone else think about Roland and Cort watching Hax during that scene?), but I’m curious to see how he gets out of that pickle. How long can Big Jim keep on doing what he’s doing before more people catch on?

There’s still plenty of story to tell, and some shows improve with age. The writers have time to step back and assess what works and what doesn’t. Stephen King will be writing at least the first episode of the second season, so there’s that, too.

The Dark Man by Stephen King Lettered Edition (First Video)

We’ve received the approval copy of the box for the Deluxe Lettered Edition of The Dark Man by Stephen King and we thought our collectors might like a little sneak peek at a unique feature we’ve never tried before:

The rest of the boxes will be done this month.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #159

Check out the The New York Times Magazine in this Sunday’s paper for a cover story called The Kings of Maine. The text is online at this link, but there may be more pictures in the print version. The author of the interview also posted a sidebar on the Times site: An Easter Egg Hunt With Stephen King and Family.

King will be making three stops on his book tour for Doctor Sleep. First, he’ll appear with his son, author Owen King, in New York City on September 24th at 7:30 PM, presented by The Center for Fiction at the Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College. Then he’ll be at the  Colorado Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder on Wednesday, September 25th at 7:30 PM. His final appearance is an event hosted by Harvard Book Store at 7 PM on September 27th at the Memorial Church, One Harvard Yard, in Cambridge, MA. See King’s official web site for links to the various sites and the full details of each event.

Under the Dome has been a big hit for CBS. Factoring time-shifting viewers and people downloading it on Amazon, more than 15 million people have been tuning in. Last week, CBS announced that they are renewing the series for a second season. The first episode of the 2014 series will be written by King. A lot of people have been complaining about how much the series diverges from the novel. King addresses these complaints here. On CBS Sunday Morning, King took the producers to the Maine town that was the inspiration for Chester’s Mill:  Stephen King and his compulsion to write. And this was pretty funny: On David Letterman, Bruce Willis joked  that he was joining the series, playing “the guy who lives right next door to the dome.” Because of the realities of filming outdoors, the producers have had to make some concessions about the weather. It’s impossible, for example, to eradicate the wind, so they published the rules of Under the Dome.

Here is a report from King’s recent appearance at Mark Twain House and a video of the event.

During a Q&A session promoting Under the Dome, King said that he’s halfway through a novel called Revival. During his interview at Mark Twain House (see above), he said, “The main character is a kid who learns how to play guitar, and I can relate to this guy because he’s not terribly good. He’s just good enough to catch on with a number of bands and play for a lot of years. The song that he learns to play first is the song that I learned to play first, which was ‘Cherry, Cherry’ by Neil Diamond. One of the great rock progressions: E-A-D-A.”

In an interview with The Atlantic, King discusses why he spends “months and even years” writing opening sentences.

The AARP website has posted an excerpt: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep Revisits The Shining — Nearly 30 Years Later. During the premiere of Under the Dome, CBS ran an ad for the book.

Haven creators Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn have sold a pilot to ABC based on the short story “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates.”

NBC has announced plans for a miniseries remake of The Tommyknockers. Emmy Award winner Yves Simoneau (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) is attached to direct.

After years of being unavailable, The Golden Years is once again on DVD and Blu-Ray.

News from the Dead Zone #158

This is a link post for all of the recent promotional appearances and articles related to Joyland and Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Also, with Under the Dome premiering in less than two weeks, some interesting articles:

Look for my review of the first episode some time next week. In a nutshell: It’s good!

News from the Dead Zone #157

Next week is going to be busy in the Stephen King universe. Joyland and the all-star soundtrack for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County both come out on June 4. My review of Joyland can be seen here. It will also appear in issue 70 of Cemetery Dance magazine, together with an interview with Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime’s publisher.

Here are the media appearances that are slated for next week to promote the two releases. Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett will be involved with some of them.

  • Monday, June 3rd: The Today Show and Meet the Creators (a live event at Apple’s NY Soho store that will be broadcast later in the week)
  • Tuesday, June 4th: Morning Joe and Charlie Rose
  • Wednesday, June 5th: All Things Considered and Late Show with David Letterman
  •  Thursday, June 6th: The Colbert Report
  •  Friday, June 7th: SiriusXM Live Conversation with Mojo Nixon

King has already done a few interviews about Joyland. Last weekend he was on the cover of Parade magazine (there’s a cool behind-the-scenes video online) and a couple of days ago he did a long interview with Terry Gross on NPR (On Growing Up, Believing in God and Getting Scared). Some people have been complaining about the lack of an eBook edition of Joyland (for now at least). Charles Ardai wrote an essay that explained their rationale: Why Cling to the Past? Exclusive essay by Stephen King’s publisher about Joyland. There’s a 15-second teaser trailer for the book on YouTube.

Concord Music group has announced that Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be released as an illustrated digital book for iBooks on June 3rd. The comprehensive multimedia edition fuses the production’s story, soundtrack, artwork and video extras into a complete interactive experience. The soundtrack is streaming live at The Wall Street Journal.

That’s not all that’s new. “Afterlife,” the story King read in its entirety at UMass Lowell last December, is in the “summer reading” issue of Tin House magazine. You can get it from the various online bookstores, but it’s only $15 straight from the publisher, with free media mail shipping.

And I assume you’ve already ordered a copy of The Dark Man, the lavishly illustrated edition from CD that showcases Glenn Chadbourne’s awesome art?

Then, on June 17, Coliloquy is publishing the eBook Hard Listening, which has a collection of essays and e-mail exchanges from members of the Rock Bottom Remainders. The iPad/iBooks version is enhanced and interactive, with videos and audio files embedded in the text. There’s a great video of everyone in the green room getting a laught out of Mitch Albom’s Elvis wig. Steve is rolling on the floor with laughter. It’s a funny and fun book. Also of note, there’s a new King short story. However, I won’t reveal the title because three other authors were tasked with writing a story in King’s style and readers get a chance to vote on which one they think is the real King. After you vote, you can see how other readers voted and, separately, how other Rock Bottom Remainders voted. All author proceeds from the sales of Hard Listening will be donated to offset the late Kathi Kamen Goldmark’s medical bills. You can read an excerpt here.

And then, on June 24th, we get the premiere of Under the Dome. Here’s a long trailer and Hollywood Reporter’s 10 Things to Know about the series.

PS Publishing has added two more 30th anniversary King editions to their roster, in addition to the already announced Christine and Pet Sematary. In 2014 they will issue Thinner and Skeleton Crew. There’s a strong Cemetery Dance angle here, too. Rich Chizmar has written the afterword for Christine, and I wrote one for Pet Sematary.

Chris Evans (Captain America) has been cast as the lead in Tom Holland’s adaptation of “The Ten O’Clock People.” Filming is expected to begin in Atlanta this fall. The John Cusack film Cell is also scheduled to begin filming in September. Tod “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) is directing.

I attended the Dollar Baby Film Festival that was held in conjunction with Comicpalooza in Houston last weekend. Here’s my report on the event at FEARnet.

News from the Dead Zone #156

Since we last spoke, my book The Dark Tower Companion came out in trade paperback and eBook (Kindle | Nook). The reviews have been rolling in, so if you’re on the fence about buying a copy, check them out here. One of my favorites says, in part, “Bev Vincent … is so fluent in Mid-World, one gets the feeling he has gone through a doorway and visited. Really, you have the sense that he’s been there.”

Did you miss your chance to see Ghost Brothers of Darkland County when it played in Atlanta last year? If so, don’t despair. There are a couple of options available that will allow you to experience the show. First, you can order the soundtrack on iTunes or various other places. There’s a one-disc version that has the songs interspersed with select dialog from the play and a 2-disc deluxe set that comes with a trade paperback of the libretto and a DVD containing a Making of Ghost Brothers mini-documentary, featuring in-depth interviews with King, Mellencamp and Burnett along with the digital libretto and other bonus material. Then there’s the  3-disc version that has an additional CD that is just the music (no dialog) and a hardcover version of the libretto. The soundtrack will be available on June 4. Rolling Stone has been featuring individual tracks recently, including one of my favorite songs from the musical, Home Again.

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather see the play itself. If so, you may be pleased to hear that the show is going on tour, playing in 20 cities in the Midwest and Southeast beginning October 10 in Bloomington, IN, and ending November 6 in Grand Rapids, MI. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 17 at 10am at aeglive.com. The full list of cities and dates can be found here.

June 4 is also publication day for Joyland. Check out issue 70 of Cemetery Dance magazine for my review and an interview with Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai. Thus far the only review has been from Publishers Weekly, and it’s a good one. The audiobook will be narrated by Michael Kelly. Last week it was announced that Tate Taylor (The Help) has optioned the film rights.

Cemetery Dance has revealed some of Vincent Chong’s spectacular artwork for their limited edition of Doctor Sleep here and here.

A Dollar Baby Film Festival will be part of Comicpalooza in Houston on the Memorial Day weekend. Twenty of these short films will be screened. I will be attending as a special guest. Shawn S. Lealos is hosting the event, screening his adaptation of “I Know What You Need” and promoting his upcoming book Dollar Deal: The Stories of the Dollar Baby Filmmakers.

The film adaptation of A Good Marriage is getting in gear. Filming will start in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia star as husband and wife, with Kristen Connolly playing their daughter. Stephen Lang plays a retired investigator from the Maine Attorney General’s office who is obsessed with solving a crime. Peter Askin is directing from King’s screenplay.

Only six more weeks until the premiere of Under the Dome, the summer series on CBS. Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), who plays Big Jim Rennie, tweeted a picture from the set with King recently. Cast members and producers discussed the series recently at Wondercon. You can see video of that panel at the bottom of this page. It’s hard to turn on ABC these days without seeing a promo for the show, but just in case you’ve missed them, here’s the latest teaser trailer. Be on the lookout for a shout-out to The Simpsons when the show airs. The plan is for this to be an ongoing series rather than a limited miniseries.

JJ Abrams has stepped in with a proposal to turn 11/22/63 into a TV series after Jonathan Demme recused himself from the project.

Season 4 of Haven began production recently. Eureka’s Colin Ferguson joins the cast as (what else?) a mysterious stranger.

The Dark Tower comics from Marvel are nearing the end of their run. The second issue of Evil Ground, the prequel to The Little Sisters of Eluria, comes out this month. Then, in July, a one-shot called So Fell Lord Perth ends the series.

Could the Dark Tower adaptation find its way to Netflix? Chief Creative Officer Ted Sarandos has revealed that he has talked to Ron Howard about the possibility. He says that he and Howard plan to continue their discussions after Arrested Development is finished.

Hard Listening is a forthcoming e-book by members of the Rock Bottom Remainders. It is a collection of essays, stories, musings, group email exchanges, candid conversations, compromising photographs, and audio and video (semi-musical) clips, as well as interactive quizzes. It will feature a new King story, as well as stories by some of his collaborators written to imitate him.

On July 18, King will appear at The Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut, in conversation with WNPR radio personality Colin McEnroe. Proceeds from the event benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of The Mark Twain House & Museum. He and son Owen will headline the PEN Canada annual benefit on October 24. The Q&A discussion will be moderated by the award-winning mystery writer, Louise Penny.

Want to blow your mind? Check out this flowchart of The Stephen King Universe. You may think you’ve seen it before, but it was recently updated to include the Dark Tower series.

 

News from the Dead Zone #155

The official Stephen King Facebook page debuted today. Be sure to click on the banner when you get there to see a clever mosaic.

Once upon a time, not so terribly long ago, I pretended to be Scarecrow Joe as part of the promotion leading up to the hardcover release of Under the Dome. I wrote the kid’s blog entries and ran his twitter feed. Colin Ford (We Bought a Zoo) will play him in the CBS TV series that debuts on June 24th. That’s the first casting news to be announced. There’ll be a promotional ad for the series during the Super Bowl. Neal Baer serves as showrunner. DreamWorks’ Stacey Snider is executive producing with Spielberg, King, Baer, Brian K. Vaughan (who wrote the pilot), Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Here’s an interview with King and Vaughan about the adaptation. Filming starts in Wilmington, NC in February. The thirteenth and final episode will reveal a vital piece of information about the town’s situation, but will be open-ended, the hope being that the series will be renewed and there will be more adventures in Chester’s Mill.

The third season of Haven ended with a series of bangs last night as the final two episodes were aired. What a cliffhanger it was, too. We learned some new information (who’s the Colorado Kid’s father? Who’s in charge of the guard?) but now we have to wait months and months to find out what will become of Audrey and Nathan and company. Turning Duke into a teenager, albeit briefly, was a stroke of brilliance.

The signed, limited edition of The Shining from Subterranean Press will go on sale at approximately 12:00 PM, EST, on Wednesday, January 23. The artist for this edition is Gabriel Rodriguez (of the comic series Locke & Key).

There’s a three page interview with King in the January 11 issue of Entertainment Weekly about Doctor Sleep. “6 Books We Can’t Wait For — Stephen King on His Shining Sequel” I haven’t found it online yet, though.

PS Publishing is going to do two 30th anniversary editions of King’s books this year. Their plan is to get the books out as close to the original publication dates as possible: Christine (with an introduction by Michael Marshall Smith) in late April and Pet Sematary (with an introduction by Ramsey Campbell) in mid-November. The books will have wraparound covers, two-page endpapers back and front (each one different) and full color wraparound artwork on a special slipcase plus six interior b&w illustrations. The artists will be signing the tip sheets and they’re hoping to include King’s signature as a facsimile. Print run should be 300-400 numbered copies.

Part 1 of the two-part Sheemie’s Story is now out from Marvel, with the concluding section coming out in February. After that, another two-part series called Evil Ground launches in April. It’s described as a prequel to “The Little Sisters of Eluria.” Here’s the blurb: “While traveling through the Desatoya Mountains towards Eluria, Roland comes across a haunted camp. While there, he relives one of his past adventures, in which he and his ka-tet fought Farson’s forces, only to be trapped by supernatural enemies”

Sony Pictures announced recently that the Carrie remake has been pushed back from its March 15 release to October 18.

The Facebook page Blumhouse Productions has released two behind the scenes photos for the movie Mercy, based on King’s short story “Gramma.” Dylan McDermott joined the cast recently, along with Frances O’Connor, Chandler Riggs and Joel Courtney. Peter Cornwell is directing. See more here.

News from the Dead Zone #154

The end is drawing nigh. The end of the world? Pshaw. The end of the year, certainly. This will probably be my last update for 2012, and what better day to do it than on 12/12/12?

Last Friday, King made an appearance at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. During the day, he talked to a creative writing class and that evening he took part in a conversation with faculty member and writer Andre Dubus III. Dubus interviewed him for the first 30 minutes, and King took questions from the audience during the final 30 minutes. In the middle, he treated the audience to the world premiere of a new short story called “Afterlife,” which is not scheduled for publication at this time. Earlier in the day, he talked at length about the novel he is currently working on, describing the genesis and how it developed from a short story idea into a 500 page manuscript. Mr. Mercedes is more of a mystery novel and it has no supernatural elements. You can find video of the entire event at the UMass Lowell website.

Look for the rare King short story “The Glass Floor” in issue #69 of Cemetery Dance magazine. This is the Glenn Chadbourne issue, and my buddy Glenn has put together special illustrations for this creepy tale, King’s first professional sale, originally published in 1967 and only reprinted once since then.

The 24-part graphic adaptation of “Little Green God of Agony” is now finished.

The long-delayed soundtrack for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be released on March 19th, 2013. The (enhanced CD) Standard Edition features the complete soundtrack, dialog excerpts and digital libretto. The (2CD/1DVD) Deluxe Edition contains the complete soundtrack (with and without dialog), deluxe art work, handwritten lyrics, specially printed libretto and the “Making of Ghost Brothers” mini-documentary DVD featuring in-depth interviews with King, Mellencamp and Burnett along with other bonus material. Digital editions for tablets, smartphones and e-readers will allow users to interact with the complete soundtrack + digital libretto, as well as exclusive video and graphic materials. King and Mellencamp are still exploring the possibility of bringing the show to Broadway, and King thinks that it might make a good movie, too.

Under the Dome will be a series on CBS next summer. This isn’t going to be a literal translation, though, and neither is it going to be a miniseries. Writer Brian K. Vaughan is using the novel as a launch pad for an open-ended series that could potentially continue beyond the initial 13-week run. Perhaps it will be something like The Dead Zone series, which ran for several years, or like SyFy’s Haven, which has been renewed for a fourth season.

John Cusack will play the lead in an adaptation of Cell from Cargo Entertainment. Richard Saperstein, who produced 1408, will co-produce this feature. No word on when production might begin. And in other casting news, Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead) and Joel Courtney (Super 8) are joining the cast of Mercy, a feature based on “Gramma.”

Ben Affleck is having a hard time wrapping his head around his proposed adaptation of The Stand. “I like the idea,” he told GQ. “It’s like The Lord of the Rings in America. And it’s about how we would reinvent ourselves as a society. If we started all over again, what would we do?” The film is still on his radar, but it won’t be the next thing he works on. “The script is not ready yet, it needs a lot more work.”

Jonathan Demme had sufficient problems with 11/22/63 that he decided to step away from the project. “This is a big book, with lots in it,” he told Indiewire. “And I loved certain parts of the book for the film more than Stephen did. We’re friends, and I had a lot of fun working on the script, but we were too apart on what we felt should be in and what should be out of the script. I had an option and I let it go. But I hope it’s moving forward, I really want to see that movie.”

The San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne on Sept. 18 next year, the first of six performances running through October 4.  The libretto is by J.D. McClatchy. Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick will sing the title character, soprano Elizabeth Futral will perform Vera Donovan, Susannah Biller the daughter Selena St. George, Wayne Tigges the husband Joe St. George, and Greg Fedderly will be Detective Thibodeau. George Manahan conducts and James Robinson directs.

Remember that famous “Study, Dammit” cover from the Maine Campus? The one adapted at King’s website to say “Read the FAQ, Dammit”? Well, the original artwork was discovered recently and you can now purchase copies, with proceeds going to support both The Maine Campus and scholarships at the University of Maine. Visit http://www.studydammit.com/.

Cemetery Dance announced the publication of my signed, limited edition chapbook, Twenty-First Century King recently. The 50-page booklet compiles my reviews of every book King has published in the 21st century, starting with “Riding the Bullet” and ending with The Wind Through the Keyhole. That adds up to 21 reviews and 21,000 words of text. Seems like a theme—the mystical number 21. There are only 750 copies. They make great stocking stuffers for the King fan in your life.

And, last but not least, I recently announced my third book, The Dark Tower Companion, to be published by New American Library (Penguin) in April 2013. This massive companion is 50% longer than The Road to the Dark Tower. It covers not only the eight books in the series, but also the Marvel graphic novel adaptations. I interviewed King for the book, along with Robin Furth, Richard Isanove (colorist), Peter David (script), Jae Lee (artist) and most of the subsequent artists. I also, much to my great delight, got to talk with Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman about how they plan to adapt the series. The book features a comprehensive glossary and two maps drawn by none other than…me! It will be published as a trade paperback and a Kindle eBook, both of which can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

News from the Dead Zone #153

The big news today (other than Hurricane Sandy, of course) is Subterranean Press’s announcement that they will be publishing a signed/limited edition of The Shining next year. There’ll be a numbered edition of 750, a lettered edition of 52 and an unsigned trade edition. It will feature over 40 illustrations by acclaimed artist Dagmara Matuszak. The signed editions will be signed by Stephen and the artist. Preorders for this offering will begin in January 2013. News regarding preorders will be sent first from Subterranean Press through their newsletter, so anyone interested is urged to sign up at their site.

Issue 25 of Screem magazine is shipping soon. It contains my interview with Mark Pavia about his film The Night Flier and his anthology project in development, The Reaper’s Image. I also have an essay about the various King-based anthology projects over the years.

Have you been checking out the webcomic adaptation of “The Little Green God of Agony” at King’s official website? Adapted by well-known comic artist Dennis Calero, the webcomic will run in serial installments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for eight weeks. King’s opinion? “It rocks most righteously.”

To date, three of the four novellas from Different Seasons have been adapted to film. Scott Teems is working on a script for the remaining novella, “The Breathing Method.” Scott Derrickson (director of Sinister) will direct, assuming it gets financing.

Universal is working with the same production company (Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Prods.) on a fantasy-horror film based on “Gramma.” The film will be called Mercy, with Peter Cornwell directing from a script by Matt Greenberg (1408). Frances O’Connor  is set to star. The story was previously adapted by Harlan Ellison for The New Twilight Zone in 1986.

The Gunslinger section of the Marvel graphic novels is finished. Next up is Sheemie’s Tale, a two-parter that debuts in January 2013. By the way, Robin Furth’s The Complete Concordance has been revised and updated to include The Wind Through the Keyhole. It will be released on November 9.

Brian Freeman interviewed Lawrence Cohen about his book Stephen King’s Carrie: The Book, The Movie, and The Musical! The director and cast of the forthcoming remake of Carrie appeared at ComicCon in NY to discuss the project. Here is the movie’s official site.

A year ago, a group of high school students in Sussex, NB, Canada, embarked on a project whereby they hoped to entice King to visit their school, which is located a few hundred miles from Bangor. They started a letter-writing campaign, sending hundreds of requests to his office. They created videos and rap songs. Finally, their persistence paid off. In late October, King was a surprise visitor to the school, where he spent an hour with a small group of writing students critiquing their work and another hour with a larger group in the school auditorium. No journalists were invited to the event, but articles ran after the fact in the Bangor Daily News and many Canadian markets. Here is the CBC news coverage, including a video news clip and an audio news report. Even better, the students recorded the appearance and made two YouTube videos, a 5-minute synopsis and a 30-minute extended version.

Joyland by Stephen King Announced!

Joyland by Stephen King
A Brand New, Never Before Published Novel!
“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts.” — Stephen King

Hi Folks!

We’re pleased to report we’re now taking preorders for Joyland by Stephen King, a new novel Hard Case Crime will be publishing next year! We’re also producing a custom-made slipcase for this title like we have for the last couple of King books, which you can also preorder now if you’re interested!

About the Book:
JoylandA STUNNING NEW NOVEL FROM ONE OF THE BEST-SELLING AUTHORS OF ALL TIME!

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

Note From the Publisher and the Author:
“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts,” Stephen King said in the press release. “I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”

Charles Ardai, editor of Hard Case Crime, promises a layered, genre-crossing story. “Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book,” he said. “It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time. Even the most hard-boiled readers will find themselves moved.”

Add A Special Exclusive Slipcase To Your Order To Protect Your Book!

Even though Joyland by Stephen King is being published by another publisher, we’ll be producing a custom-made slipcase for this title like we have for the last few Stephen King books!

The easiest way to add a slipcase to your purchase is by selecting the “Paperback with Exclusive Slipcase!” option on the Joyland product page — you’ll also save on shipping by ordering this way! (You can order just the slipcase by itself on the Joyland Slipcase product page.)

Don’t know what a slipcase is? That’s okay! It’s easily the best way to protect your book for generations to come. You can see some sample images of other slipcases we’ve made below. We’re using the same high-quality materials we have used for our previous Stephen King cases, with one color hot foil stamping. The company who makes these for us is the best in the business and you won’t find a better way to protect your investment! (If you are new to collecting, you can read more about slipcases on our Book FAQ page.)

These cases will be produced after the book is published because we need a real copy of the book to get the sizing just right and your book and slipcase will ship together to save you on shipping. We think our collectors will be very pleased with what we have in mind for these very special cases, so don’t wait to place your order!

Sample Slipcase Photos:

Sample Photos

Read more or place your order while supplies last!

News from the Dead Zone #152

The cover art for Joyland (see right) was released today. The book, from Hard Case Crime, will be released on June 4, 2013. The original publication will be in paperback only. Other editions (hardcover, electronic, audio) are possible but not currently scheduled. Joyland takes place in a small-town North Carolina amusement park, where college student Devin Jones arrives to work as a carny for the summer, but he ends up experiencing much more than he bargained for when he confronts the legacy of a vicious murder and the fate of a dying child. Read the entire press release.

Three months after Joyland, we’ll get Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. The publication date was announced earlier this week: September 24, 2013. The story picks up with Dan Torrance (formerly Danny), who is now middle-aged and working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire. He meets Abra Stone, a very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals known as The True Knot, quasi-immortal creatures that live off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Have you ever read “Weeds,” the rare King story that was the basis for “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” in Creepshow? If not, check out Shivers VII, which also features stories by Clive Barker, Ed Gorman, Bill Pronzini and many others, including me!

King’s short story “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation” appeared in the 9/12 issue of Harper’s Magazine, the first time he has published with them. “In The Tall Grass,” his collaboration with Joe Hill, first published in Esquire last summer, will be released as an audio book and an eBook in October. I wrote an essay about the story behind the story of “A Face in the Crowd” (which came out as an eBook and in audio on August 24) for FEARNet: Faces in the Crowd.

Movie news: Joan Allen will play the lead in The Good Wife, which should start filming next month. Rachel Nichols is in negotiations to join Justin Long in The Ten O’Clock People.

A group of filmmakers are working on a documentary called Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary. They have have already shot every location and filmed over two dozen interviews with the cast, crew and Maine locals who worked on the production, most of whom have never been interviewed on camera about their role in the film. John Campopiano says, “Our goal is to show the unique bridging of a relatively small Hollywood production with a small Maine community who continue to think highly of its involvement in the film. We’re also seeking to explore the legacy the film has established and how its core themes are being taught and explored in the film and academic worlds.”

Warner Bros.is quietly exploring the possibility of a prequel to The Shining. The studio has solicited Laeta Kalogridis and her partners to produce the proposed film, which would focus on what happened before the Torrances arrived at The Overlook. A WB spokeswoman cautioned that the project was in a very early stage and not even formally in development.

King, Dave Barry and The Rock Bottom Remainders, appeared on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. You can see it in its entirety here.

Earlier this week I received an advanced copy of Carrie: The Musical – Premiere Cast Recording from Ghostlight Records. For the first time ever, the music from the infamous Broadway adaptation is available, revised and updated for its recent reincarnation that closed after less than 50 performances (which is about ten times more than the original version). One motivation behind the reboot was to come up with a musical that could be licensed for productions across North America. The CD booklet has a reflection on the show’s history written by Lawrence D. Cohen, who wrote the book for the play as well as the script for the Brian De Palma film. Here’s a video for the opening song, “In.”

Matt Selman, an executive producer of The Simpsons, has undertaken the task of writing Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as it would have been recorded in the universe of 11/22/63.

James Smythe has gotten as far as The Dead Zone in his chronological reread of King’s books.

Here is a trailer for Season 3 of Haven, which premieres this Friday night on SyFy.

The Wind Through the Keyhole will be out in paperback on November 6th.

Finally, I have to share this enthusiastic (6 out of 5!) video review of The Stephen King Illustrated Companion.

A Face in the Crowd by Stephen King & Stewart O’Nan! Read It Today!

A Face in the Crowd

Have you heard about A Face in the Crowd by Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan, a new eBook that Simon & Schuster just published TODAY that you could be reading mere seconds from now? We are not involved in this project, but the news is so cool, we just had to share!

About the Book:
Dean Evers, an elderly widower, sits in front of the television with nothing better to do than waste his leftover evenings watching baseball. It’s Rays/Mariners, and David Price is breezing through the line-up. Suddenly, in a seat a few rows up beyond the batter, Evers sees the face of someone from decades past, someone who shouldn’t be at the ballgame, shouldn’t be on the planet. And so begins a parade of people from Evers’s past, all of them occupying that seat behind home plate. Until one day Dean Evers sees someone even eerier…

ORDER ON AMAZON: http://amzn.to/AFaceInTheCrowdUS

ORDER ON AMAZON UK: http://bit.ly/AFaceInTheCrowdUK

ORDER ON BARNES & NOBLE: http://bit.ly/AFaceInTheCrowdNOOK

ORDER ON ITUNES: http://bit.ly/FACEitunes

A Face in the Crowd by Stephen King & Stewart O’Nan!

PLUS A FREE Cemetery Dance eBook This Week Only:
Four Legs in the Morning by Norman Prentiss

Hi Folks!

Have you heard about A Face in the Crowd by Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan, a new eBook that Simon & Schuster just announced? We are not involved in this project, but the news is so cool, we just had to share!

A Face in the CrowdAbout the Book:
Dean Evers, an elderly widower, sits in front of the television with nothing better to do than waste his leftover evenings watching baseball. It’s Rays/Mariners, and David Price is breezing through the line-up. Suddenly, in a seat a few rows up beyond the batter, Evers sees the face of someone from decades past, someone who shouldn’t be at the ballgame, shouldn’t be on the planet. And so begins a parade of people from Evers’s past, all of them occupying that seat behind home plate. Until one day Dean Evers sees someone even eerier…

PREORDER ON AMAZON: http://amzn.to/AFaceInTheCrowdUS

PREORDER ON AMAZON UK: http://bit.ly/AFaceInTheCrowdUK

PREORDER ON BARNES & NOBLE: http://bit.ly/AFaceInTheCrowdNOOK

PREORDER ON ITUNES: http://bit.ly/FACEitunes

PLUS A FREE Cemetery Dance eBook This Week!

Four Legs in the MorningWe’re also very pleased to announce that the Amazon Kindle eBook edition of Four Legs in the Morning by Norman Prentiss is FREE FOR EVERYONE THIS WEEK ONLY at this special Amazon.com link:

http://bit.ly/FourLegsBoxSet

Please Note: You do NOT need to own a Kindle to read Kindle eBooks! You can try the Kindle App (for iPhones, iPads, Android Phones, PCs, and more) or you can even read Kindle eBooks in your web browser using the free Kindle Cloud!

Please help us spread the word about this FREE giveaway by posting the news and those links on your websites, blogs, message boards, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Download your FREE copy of FOUR LEGS IN THE MORNING before time runs out!

News from the Dead Zone #151

My 150th post was so memorable, so legen—wait for it—dary that I was hesitant to follow it up. Nah, I’ve just been busy with other stuff (a likely story). So, here it is, #151. All the news that’s fit to print, and even some that isn’t.

The hottest news is the pending publication of “A Face in the Crowd,” an e-book and audiobook short story co-written with Stewart O’Nan, release slated for August 21. You can read the plot synopsis at King’s website. If you find yourself saying, “Hey, that sort of sounds familiar,” there’s a good reason. King talked about this story idea in Faithful, also co-written with O’Nan, while discussing the Face Game, something he’d do to amuse himself while watching baseball games. “What if a guy watches a lot of baseball games on TV because he’s a shut-in or invalid…and one night he sees his best friend from childhood, who was killed in a car crash, sitting in one of the seats behind the backstop…After that the protagonist sees him every night at every game.” You can read the full passage from Faithful here. The idea stuck around. King mentioned it again at the end of his appearance at the Savannah Book Festival, where Stewart O’Nan was in attendance. You can hear King talking about it at the 1 hr 5 min mark of this video.

The next book to be published will probably be Joyland, which will be out from Hard Case Crime next June. Neil Gaiman spilled the beans about this crime novel in an interview with King published in the Sunday Times in April. The book will only be available in paperback at first because King wants people to experience it as a physical book. Presumably there will eventually be an eBook, too. Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Publisher Charles Ardai calls the it “a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book. It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time.  Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved.”

Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, originally slated for a January 2013 release, has been pushed back to give King more time to work on revisions. A new release date has not yet been announced, but you can hear King read the opening section on the audiobook version of The Wind through the Keyhole.

Part 1 of “In the Tall Grass,” a novella co-written with Joe Hill, was published in the June/July issue of Esquire, with the conclusion following in the August issue. It’s a nasty little story about what happens to people who unwisely choose to listen to the Canadian rock group Rush while traveling cross-country.

Movie update: The remake of Carrie is currently in production, with Chloë Grace Moretz in the starring role. Julianne Moore, Judy Greer and Portia Doubleday are also in the movie, which is directed by Kimberly Peirce. Justin Long is starring in a feature film adaptation of “The Ten o’Clock People,” directed by Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Thinner). Both are slated for 2013 releases. At Cannes, there were reports that “The Reach” and “A Good Marriage” would be turned into films, too, but there’s been no further news since then, nor has there been anything else about SyFy’s plans to turn The Eyes of the Dragon into a 4-hour TV movie. There are still rumblings about a 2-movie remake of It, too, but who knows if that project will take off or not.

King played with the Rock Bottom Remainders at their last-ever gigs in California recently. Before the shows, King said,  “A few years ago, Bruce Springsteen told us we weren’t bad, but not to try to get any better otherwise we’d just be another lousy band. After 20 years, we still meet his stringent requirements. For instance, while we all know what ‘stringent’ means, none of us have yet mastered an F chord.” Kathy Kamen Goldmark, who came up with the idea for the band, passed away shortly before these shows. You can find some clips of their performances on YouTube. Here’s an article about the band in the L.A. Times.

King will take to the stage at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, offering fans the chance to hear him read his work, ask him questions and listen to him discuss his passion for writing and his advice for aspiring authors on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.  See more about the event here.

Mark and Brian of KLOS hosted a wide-ranging interview with King recently You can listen to it here: Part 1 | Part 2.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County may make the move to Broadway. Director Susan V. Booth plans to workshop the play in New York in September to try to arrange financial backing. In case you missed it in the awesomeness that was NFtDZ #150, here is my review of the Premiere at FEARnet.

James Smythe, a writer for the UK newspaper The Guardian, has read every King book and is now reading them again and reviewing them along the way. If you’re interested in following along, his first post on Carrie can be found here.

Season 3 of Haven is currently filming in Nova Scotia. The SyFy original series, based on The Colorado Kid (loosely based, that is), returns with thirteen new episodes on September 21. Hmmm. There’s something special about that date. Now, what could it be?

 

News from the Dead Zone #150

My 150th post to the online version of News from the Dead Zone. Let’s make it worth while, shall we?

The big news, of course, is yesterday’s publication of The Dark Tower 4.5, aka The Wind Through the Keyhole. I have a long review of the book in CD #66 and a shorter one at Onyx Reviews. The book is also out in the UK with a fascinating concept: The back cover is composed of hundreds (if not thousands) of user-contributed photographs, including mine. I haven’t seen the final product yet, but I expect that the pictures will be so small as to be unrecognizable but the online graphic lets you look around to see how it was built. A neat idea.

King reads the audio version, which is available on audio CD (not to be confused with this CD) and as an MP3 download. It also contains the opening section of Doctor Sleep, which will be published next year. There is an official Dark Tower page on Facebook, where you can read a discussion between King’s longtime editor, Scribner Editor-in-Chief Nan Graham, and his longtime editor and agent Chuck Verrill, of Darhansoff and Verrill, about the new book. My pal Bill Sheehan reviews the book in the Washington Post.

While we’re on the subject of the Dark Tower, the Marvel series The Way Station wraps up this month and the final series, The Man in Black, launches in June with artist Alex Maleev taking the reins. No word if Marvel will continue on past the end of The Gunslinger.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is nearing the middle of its run at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA. I wrote an essay for FEARnet about the show’s long road from inception to execution (Ghost Brothers I: The Long Road to Atlanta) and another in which I review the musical (Ghost Brothers II: Review). I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at for the red carpet premiere on April 11 and got to meet many of the principles and actors afterward. You can find a lot of great photos (not mine) here. No word yet on any CD release of the songs or if the show will have a life beyond Atlanta. Here’s a study guide about the story.

Neil Gaiman interviewed King for the Sunday Times (UK) magazine a couple of weeks ago. Among the revelations was the news that King was working on a novel called Joyland about an amusement park serial killer. King’s administrator follows up by saying that “this is indeed a work in progress that has been completed but will need to be edited. There is no official publisher or publication date set at this time. We will update you as more official news becomes available.”

11/22/63 was a winner at the 32nd annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes in the mystery/suspense category. It has also been nominated for an International Thriller Award. The trade paperback edition will be out in October.

“Herman Wouk is Still Alive” (yes, he really is) won the Bram Stoker Award for short story. An audio adaptation of the story was prepared for Tales to Terrify in the run-up to the award ceremony. (While you’re there, check out an audio adaptation of my story, “Silvery Moon.”)

SyFy plans to adapt The Eyes of the Dragon for the cable network, we learned yesterday. It’s “in development,” with Michael Taylor and Jeff Vintar writing and Taylor executive producing with Bill Haber.

Mark Pavia (director of The Night Flier) is working on an anthology movie called Stephen King’s The Reaper’s Image that will adapt these four stories: “The Reaper’s Image,” “The Monkey,” “N,” and “Mile 81.”

Chloe Moretz has been chosen to play Carrie in the remake planned for next March. Julianne Moore is reportedly in talks to play Margaret White. Kim Pierce, the director, writes on Facebook: “I have gone back to the wonderful Stephen King book Carrie; I am also modernizing the story as one has to in order to bring any great piece of work written in one era into the next and especially given how very relevant this material is right now.”

I did an hour-long podcast about the Mick Garris miniseries Bag of Bones hosted by Louis Sytsma and featuring his frequent fellow podcaster Karen Lindsay.

All the links fit to print:

News from the Dead Zone #149

It can’t really have been two months since I last updated this site, can it? Apparently so. My apologies. I’ve been somewhat busy with an as-yet-unannounced book project that I hope will interest y’all when I can talk about it.

So, what’s new? The biggest thing, probably, is the fact that The Wind Through the Keyhole is starting to ship from Donald M. Grant. If you ordered the Artist Edition, you’re at the head of the list, though us poor alphabet-challenged people will have to wait a little longer than the Andersons and Billings and Carpenters of the world. My review of what King calls Dark Tower 4.5 (because the contemporary action takes place after the ka-tet leaves the Green Palace) will appear in the next issue of Cemetery Dance magazine.

I won’t bore you with news about the various remakes of movies based on King’s works. None of them seem to be going anywhere fast these days. However, I wrote an essay for FEARnet about the various Carrie adaptations, both cinematic and dramatic: Carrie On.

What’s King reading these days? According to Entertainment Weekly, he’s deep into the second volume of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Issue #1 of Road Rage, IDW’s graphic novel adaptation of Throttle is out this month, as is The Way Station #4.

King has commented about how he reworked the ending of 11/22/63 in response to feedback from his son. The original version of the last page or so of the manuscript is now available on his website.

Do you have your copy of Cycle Zombies by Stephen King? Nope, me neither. When showrunner Kurt Sutter asked King if he had a book he would like to promote during an episode of Sons of Anarchy last fall, this is the title King came up with. Sutter put his art department to work, and you can see the results here. Note that the text below the image is a spoiler for the fate of a major character, so if you haven’t seen the most recent season yet, don’t read the text!

King was at the Savannah Book Festival last weekend. He read from the opening pages of Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. This is a different passage than the one he read from last fall and features Danny and Wendy. You can find audience videos of the reading on YouTube.

Speaking of The Shining, you might be interested in Room 237, a documentary that digs into Kubrick’s film and comes up with some surprising deductions and extrapolations. Some articles about the movie: Cracking the Code in ‘Heeere’s Johnny!’ and Fascinating ‘Room 237′ Will Forever Change ‘The Shining’ For Audiences.

This week’s Saturday Night Live featured a sketch in which “Maya Angelou” stars in a ‘prank show.’  One of her victims is Bill Hader playing Stephen King (which can be seen in this video at about the 1:40 mark).

Just a couple of months until the premiere of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. I’ll be attending and will file a report after the event. A guest star-packed studio concept album is scheduled to be released on May 22 in both a single disc and 3-CD deluxe edition.

“Fair Extension” appears in the charity anthology Rage Against the Night to benefit King expert Rocky Wood. I also have a story in the book, which you can order here.

“Herman Wouk is Still Alive” was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in the short fiction category.

I found this in-depth essay fascinating: You Can’t Always Get What You Want: On Stephen King from The Nation.

Shipping Update on It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King

We started shipping the Gift Edition of It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King right on schedule this week and the first 600 copies have already gone out the door.  The rest of the preorders will be shipped this week and early next.  Orders are shipped in the order in which they were received and when your book ships you will be emailed a shipping confirmation.

The Limited Edition traycases are due to arrive on Monday, and we will begin shipping that edition at that time.  Please note that it will probably take the entire week to ship all 750 copies due to the extra steps involved in shipping the Limited Edition, so please do not panic if you do not receive a shipping confirmation right away.

Please Note: Cemetery Dance managing editor Brian James Freeman has posted the first photos of the Gift Edition and the Limited Edition on his blog, with more to come:


cases

Be sure to subscribe to his blog to be emailed about future updates and photos of interest to Stephen King fans.  There are some cool, exclusive things in the works!

News from the Dead Zone #148

Last week, I participated in a conference call with several other journalists hosted by A&E to promote Bag of Bones, which premieres on Sunday, December 11. This is the first time I’ve been involved in something like this. Basically it’s a press conference, except it’s done over the phone. While it seemed a little chaotic at first, once the moderator established the rules, everything fell into place. Each of us got to ask three questions in turn.

The interview guest was Annabeth Gish, who plays Jo Noonan in the two-part, four-hour miniseries, which is directed by Mick Garris and stars Pierce Brosnan, Gish, Melissa George and William Schallert. In case you haven’t seen it already, here are the links to my three-part interview with Mick Garris, which was posted on FEARNet.com: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Stay tuned later this week for my review of the miniseries, which I watched with my wife last week.

Gish previously appeared in Garris’s 2006 TV movie Desperation, where she played Mary Jackson. She received an offer for the part of Mike Noonan’s wife, read the script and accepted the role, even though her character dies early in the movie. “Jo was so clearly drawn, and her essence is throughout the film, so in that sense she kind of resonates. I was automatically drawn to say ‘yes’ for several reasons. One is that I’ve worked with the director, Mick Garris, before and I absolutely adore him. And, again, this is another Stephen King project for me and I respect him immensely. I just jumped at the chance.”

Because of the nature of her role, her on-screen moments are almost entirely with Pierce Brosnan. She first met Brosnan during the photo sessions that gave rise to the Dark Score Stories website before filming began. “You can get to know a little bit more about Jo and her paintings and her relationship to solving the Sara Tidwell murder . . . That was nice to get loose and to play, because we were supposed to be captured as in real life moments. That was really helpful to get to know each other.” They also took a rowboat ride together, but she didn’t feel it was necessary to process their relationship too much before the cameras rolled. “Here’s the thing about Pierce Brosnan that I can’t say enough: He is a consummate professional and an actor. He would come so prepared, with so many diverse options and choices. He’s such an impeccable actor and a great human being that what he brought was fantastic.” A scene in which she lies on the dock with Brosnan was a personal highlight for her. “He’s always been idol of mine from a young age,” she says, remembering him for his days on Remington Steele.

The fact that she was working with Garris for the second time helped, too. “You’ve gotten all of the niceties out of the way. You’re comfortable. You know each other. You know each other’s styles. And Mick has such an open heart. My level of comfort with him was immense, and I trust him implicitly. I would do anything for him. Mick is such an exquisite filmmaker. He has this mastery of horror. Anything he did technically with this film, I trusted, and you knew it was going to be beautiful. Sometimes when you walk onto a set you know everyone is in accordance with the director. Everybody is getting the memo. Filming is working efficiently. That was the vibe whenever I worked.”

Because she is the mother of two young children, she didn’t relish the idea of spending a lot of time away from them, or taking them to Nova Scotia to live in a hotel. She says that everyone worked around her schedule. “I had to take five separate trips to Halifax, but I was able to do only three and four days away from my sons. They were so considerate to me being a mom and knowing that I didn’t want to leave my sons.”

As for Nova Scotia, which doubles for Maine in the miniseries, she says, “Halifax itself as a location was this murky, mysterious, lush landscape that really fit. I think it really gives a sense of the landscape and infuses the film throughout. Weather in that kind of coastal environment always can present a problem but it was beautiful. I would shoot in Halifax any time. I think it’s such a gorgeous area of the planet and I would return there in a heartbeat.”

The most difficult aspect of the miniseries for her was the fact that she had to convey her character’s spirit. “You have a limited amount of time to convey a certain amount of feeling. Mick and I particularly talked a lot about Jo’s essence and what needed to come as a kind of feeling state without words over the screen, which is really amorphous and difficult to execute.

To help capture her character’s vibe, between scenes she often hung out in the set of Jo’s studio and examined the paintings. “They are so kinetic and so emotionally turbulent that they were an immediate hook in for me to Jo. I love that. I have no painting/artistic ability at all but just to take a brush and pretend and follow the strokes of this artist and imagine was inspiring. Pierce is a painter. He paints and draws. On an artistic level it made me think about taking a painting class, even though I’m not good at it.”

An early scene that has her underneath her bed was both psychologically disturbing and physically challenging. “We would get under the bed when we were children, but I don’t know when I’ve been under my bed recently. It was kind of a tight-quarters stunt that they actually did have to pull me with velocity from under the bed. I couldn’t sleep that night thinking of a wife reaching out to her husband from beyond the living world. It’s pretty scary. From a physical, visceral experience of filming, that was one of my favorite scenes.” However, she says, the impact of such scenes doesn’t stay with her long, “Maybe I didn’t sleep for a couple of nights, but after the movie it’s gone. It hasn’t affected my life.”

She also had to undergo extensive makeup sessions. “This project has probably been one of the most physically challenging for me in the sense of the prosthetics. I had to do a four-hour make-up job three times and become the ghost of Jo. That was for me personally very scary. It was claustrophobic and you have to wear all of this gunk all over your body. That was challenging.”

A scene involving a bus crash early in the movie was also challenging. “It was a short scene but it was a very difficult scene to shoot, not diminished by the fact that it was freezing cold and raining in Halifax that day. It was very emotional. To speak to Pierce’s commitment level, he just went for it and brought his grief to life. It was emotional and wrenching.”

She didn’t read King’s novel until after she read the script and had started working on the project. She pointed out some differences between the two that are necessary for “the economy of bringing such a large piece to the screen, to television.” However, she continues, “what I found so impressive in hindsight was how Matt [Venne], the screenwriter, really captured the extent of that universe, that world—it’s kind of like three worlds. It’s Jo and Mike, and it’s Mattie and Mike and then it’s Sara Tidwell and Mike. There are some discrepancies but in general the essence of the project is very authentic and loyal to the book. The script was so tight once we went to production, and so good that our goal was just to be faithful to what we saw on the script pages.”

Though she only started reading King after doing Desperation, Gish has a copy of On Writing on the nightstand in her bedroom, and is currently reading Lisey’s Story, which see describes as “phenomenal.” She says that King’s books translate well into film “because he always has character at the heart of his horror. There is always a real human struggle within these extravagant, horrific circumstances. It’s reality pulled out to its most dramatic stakes. What Stephen King does so masterfully is the human element. He does love. He’s really an expert at writing about love, which is probably why all of his horror is so good.” She says that the miniseries “is not just a horror film or a mystery project or a thriller or a love story—it’s all of them. People will, on a purely entertainment level, be able to sit down, get a little scared, have a few tears, freak out and fall in love with these people.”

She is attracted to horror, but not for horror’s sake. The goal of Bag of Bones is “not just to scare the bejeezus out of anybody. It’s all wrapped very intricately in with a story about real drama and real heart and/or real mystery. This isn’t about zombies, this is about a love affair—three love affairs. This about solving a mystery. This is about race. This is about genealogy. It spans a whole expanse of things that I think people will be drawn to watch it for.”

She says that she “kind of believes” in ghosts and that spirits can exist and wander around. “I would say I have met some ghosts before, let’s just put it that way. I have danced with a few ghosts. I don’t know how you can’t. When you’re on a set, you’re inviting this world in, and if you’re open you can’t help but be sensitive to it. I’m not opposed to believing in it, that’s for sure.” However, what really scares her are catastrophic events, such as someone from her family being harmed.

Social media has played an important part in promoting Bag of Bones. Programs like Twitter neutralize the playing field, she says, by letting people know that “everybody is human and happy to share about their life and open up beyond their work. Pretty Little Liars is what got me started because their whole social network is humungous and electric and certainly wields a lot of power, I would say. They kind of were schooling me in Twitter and how to tweet and all that, and then you do realize that it is a wonderful new platform. It’s hard to define the line between being private and self-promoting. I don’t post pictures of my kids or my husband or anything intimate like that. I do try to use it mainly to publicize the work that I’m doing and also to show a little bit more who I am personally. But that’s me, not my family.”

She has been acting since the age of thirteen and feels lucky not to be pigeonholed in a certain kind of role or genre. In some ways, she feels that her career is just beginning. “Now that I’m forty and I have two children, I’m thinking more along specific lines. What do I want? Your clock starts ticking and you think, what do I want to really say with my work? Things are clicking into place and I feel much more compelled to be driven now, which is odd. I’m excited to see what the next ten years will bring. I think that they might bring a little more concentrated focus, perhaps.” She says she would love to dig deeper into flawed characters like the one she portrayed on Brotherhood, and she would also like to do action films. “A new phase for me, too, is to start developing things of my own that I have passion for, that I’m excited to bring and be more proactively involved in rather than just showing up and doing my job. To comprehensively create something.”

She never feels the need to shift gears when shifting genres. “As an actor, you just play the truth. Whomever you’re playing, whatever circumstances they’re in, whether they’re on a horse or they’re in a space ship or whatever, that’s their truth and you just play the truth. As long as you’re being honest and authentic, then you can cross any genre.”

News from the Dead Zone #147

Bag of Bones will run on A&E on December 11th and 12th as a four-hour miniseries. Part 1 of my interview with Mick Garris is now up at FEARNet. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week and Part 3 the week after that.

A&E provided more pictures than we were able to use at FEARNet so here are a few that I selected to accompany Part 1 that haven’t been published before.

Welcome to Dark Score Lake

Mike Noonan (Pierce Brosnan) and his wife Jo (Annabeth Gish)

Director Mick Garris prepares to shoot a bookstore scene featuring a signing by mid-list author Mike Noonan.

Pierce Brosnan as Mike Noonan at the Dark Score Lake Fair in 1939. Sara Tidwell (played by Anika Noni Rose) is on the stage with her band.

News from the Dead Zone #146

This is 11/22/63 week. The book will be on shelves tomorrow and King’s tour in support of the novel will also be taking place this week, starting today in Boston. Check out the cool interactive Scribner site for the book.

In celebration of the release, StephenKing.com will be holding a fan appreciation giveaway from 6:00 AM ET through 11:59 PM ET on November 8th. Click here for more

 

Other than the public events previously listed, the following are scheduled for the coming days:

  • November 8th: Today on NBC (two segments)
  • November 9th: Morning Joe on msnbc
  • November 11th: Hardball with Chris Matthews
  • November 13th: Today (Sunday edition)

The event in Boston at the JFK Library is supposed to be webcast as I write this update, but I’m not getting anything. The video will be archived at their website within a couple of weeks and may also be available at King’s official website in the Multimedia section.

I’ll be in Dallas on Thursday and Friday, so if you see me, feel free to come up and say hi!

The book has been getting a lot of review coverage, most of it very favorable. Here are the ones I found, starting with my own:

In addition, here are some interviews King has done recently:

Also, listen to Craig Wasson talking about the audiobook.

News from the Dead Zone #145

Bag of Bones wrapped filming a while back and will air as a two-night/four-miniseries on A&E in early December. Though preliminary dates were announced, these are not carved in stone. A couple of teaser trailers are available on YouTube: Beware the Lake and this Behind the Scenes video.

At an awards ceremony at George Mason University last month, King surprised the audience by reading a chapter from Dr. Sleep, which is a sequel to The Shining featuring Danny Torrance some thirty-five years after his experience at the Overlook Hotel. You can watch King’s reading along with the Q&A session that accompanied the award presentation here. I wrote an essay for FearNet discussing the genesis of Dr. Sleep called Whatever happened to Danny Torrance?

Most of the details for King’s book tour for 11/22/63 have been announced and tickets to these events are selling rapidly. Even though the book won’t be out for a while, the film rights have been snapped up. Jonathan Demme optioned the feature rights,  and is set to write, direct and produce the adaptation through his Clinica Estetico banner. Excerpts from the audiobook are being released each Monday and Friday. Scribner has also produced a 2 minute video in which King discusses 11/22/63

DreamWorks’ Spielberg and Stacey Snider nabbed the rights to Under the Domel shortly after it was published in November 2009 to strong reviews and the current plan is to air the adaptation on Showtime. Search is underway for a writer to write the project, whose executive producers will include King and DreamWorks TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.

The eBook exclusive Mile 81 is out now. I wrote an essay for FearNet discussing King’s history with electronic publication that goes back farther than you probably realized: King of the eBooks.

IDW announced this week that they will be adapting the King/Joe Hill collaboration Throttle as a comic/graphic novel. Their story will be adapted in two monthly issues starting in February 2012 and will be followed by two issues adapting the story that inspired Throttle, Richard Matheson’s classic tale of suspense, Duel, beginning in April.

There’s probably still time to catch an airing of A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King on TCM. The network shows repeat airings on October 18 and 24. Check your local provider for details. Here’s an interview with interviewer author/filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau: THE KING’S SCREECH.

A couple of weeks after Haven wrapped its second season, SyFy announced they were renewing the weekly series for a third season. Guess we’ll get to know whose gun went off after all.

The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2012 is now up for preorder to Book of the Month Club/Stephen King Library members. The theme this year is the Dark Tower and I have an essay in it.

The next installment of the Marvel graphic novel series is The Way Station. It debuts in December.

Interesting links:

News from the Dead Zone #144

Hodder & Stoughton has produced a short promo video for 11/22/63.

Movie news:

Bag of Bones is currently filming in Nova Scotia, Canada. Mick Garris is directing from a script by Matt Venne. A&E network will air this four-hour minseries over two nights, perhaps later on this year. The cast includes Pierce Brosnan (Mike Noonan), Annabeth Gish (Jo Noonan), Melissa George (Mattie Devore) and Anika Noni Rose (Sara Tidwell). Kelly Rowland’s name has also been mentioned in association with the film, but not for a specific role.

Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) has optioned 11/22/63 and will write, produce and direct the film. Variety says that King will executive produce. There’s no distributor yet, but Demme hopes to start filming toward the end of 2012.

Warner Bros. is in the process of finalizing the deals for Harry Potter director David Yates and Steve Kloves, who scripted the final three Potter films, to re-team for a multi-movie version of The Stand.

Alexandre Aja may to direct the remake of Pet Sematary for Paramount.

Upcoming short fiction appearances:

  • “Little God of Agony” in A Book of Horrors, edited by Stephen Jones
  • “The Dune” in Granta magazine’s Fall/Winter horror-themed issue. You can pre-order the single issue at Amazon

Mark your calendars:

  • King will appear and sign books at the Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA on September 23, 2011. Tickets become available on Monday, August 15. Though admission is free, tickets are required and there is a limit of two tickets per request. See Center for the Arts Ticket Office.
  • On Monday, October 3, at 8 p.m. (Eastern), Turner Classic Movies will premiere A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King, with in which King will discuss the classic horror films that influenced him the most. He takes viewers on a journey through many aspects of the horror genre, including vampires, zombies, demons and ghosts. He also examines the fundamental reasons behind moviegoers’ incessant craving for being frightened. Along the way, he discusses the movies that have had a real impact on his writing, including Freaks (1932), Cat People (1942), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Jaws (1975), Halloween (1978) and The Changeling (1980).
  • King will be touring to support 11/22/63. The following dates have been announced: Boston (11/7), Dallas (11/10 & 11/11), New Orleans (11/12),  Sarasota (11/14), Atlanta (12/14)

An abridged version of King’s introduction to the new centenary edition of Lord of the Flies can be found in the London Telegraph.

News from the Dead Zone #143

King’s official web site and Scribner today announced the September 1, 2011 release of Mile 81. This 80 page eBook exclusive contains the title story and an excerpt from 11/22/63. You can read the story synopsis here. If the title sounds vaguely familiar, you have an astute memory: the rest stop at Mile 81 of the Maine Turnpike is mentioned (just once, in passing) in Dreamcatcher. Don’t have a Kindle? There are apps for these books for iPhones and iPads, and also a program you can install on a Windows PC to read Kindle content.

Scribner has also announced the publication date for The Wind Through the Keyhole: April 3, 2012. They show the book as being 336 pages, but that’s probably just an estimate at this point. I’ll have a brief review of the book in Cemetery Dance #66. Though they aren’t ready to take orders yet, Grant Books announced that their edition will be out in February. CD & Grant are both producing custom slipcases for the trade edition.

King will have a new short story, “The Little Green God of Agony,” in Stephen Jones’s anthology A Book of Horrors. I haven’t seen anything about a US release yet, but Amazon/UK is accepting pre-orders for the British edition, which comes out in September.

The second season of Haven premieres on SyFy tonight.

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard discuss the Dark Tower movie adaptation at Deadline.com.

David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films, is mulling over whether he will direct the trilogy of films Warner Bros has proposed for The Stand.

Previews of the new musical version of Carrie are set for Aug. 1 at Lucille Lortel Theatre.  Marin Mazzie & Molly Ranson star.

King’s essay My Summer Reading List is now online at the Entertainment Weekly website.

Tickets for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County are now on sale at the Alliance Theatre box office. King discusses the play in this video interview.

News from the Dead Zone #142

Simon & Schuster has made available an excerpt of 11/22/63, which you can read here. It features a cameo from a familiar “character.” Word out of Book Expo America is that the first printing will be 1 million copies. Craig Wasson will narrate the audiobook.

King’s new short story “Under the Weather” is included in the US trade paperback of Full Dark, No Stars, out now.

Jae Lee has signed on to illustrate The Wind Through the Keyhole, which will be published as a limited edition by Donald M. Grant Publisher. Orders are not yet being taken and a final release date has not been established. King has agreed to sign 800 copies of a Deluxe Edition which will be issued in a tray case.

Hollywood Reporter has an update on the status of the Dark Tower adaptation and Ron Howard told Entertainment Weekly, “We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but Dark Tower is moving forward,” Howard said. “We’re thinking of starting in early spring now. I can’t really say who’ll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We’ll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid.” The project would start with a feature film, followed by six hours of TV content, starring the same actors as in the movie. “There are elements of the Dark Tower saga that are more personal and can be best dealt with on television,” Howard continued. “TV allows you to roll out details of the characters in a more methodical way.”

King has a new essay and a recipe in Man with a Pan, edited by John Donahue.  The recipe is for “pretty good cake,” and in the essay King advocates the many uses of the frying pan and emphasizes the benefits of cooking over medium heat (plus a bit). He also returns to the pages of Entertainment Weekly with “My Summer Reading List, Best of Summer 2011″ (June 3rd issue).

King is interviewed in Screem #22, their all-vampire issue. I also have an essay in that issue about ‘Salem’s Lot, the two TV miniseries adaptations and the dreadful “sequel.”

“The River” writer Michael Green is at work adapting Under the Dome in preparation for DreamWorks TV to shop to broadcast and cable buyers in a few months. There have been reports that Bag of Bones is filming as a TV miniseries as well.

Here’s a commentary by King on his Alliance Theatre musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and a call for cast members from Playbill. Lilja has some photos from the press conference at Lilja’s Library.

Haven is gearing up for its second season. There’s an article at Fangoria, a trailer and an interview with star Emily Rose.

IT: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King

“I worked on the book in a dream. I remember very little about the writing of it, except for the idea that I’d gotten hold of something that felt very big to me, and something that talked about more than monsters…”
— Stephen King, from the exclusive afterword for this special edition

It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition
by Stephen King

IT by Stephen King

Read more on our website or place your order before time runs out!

Discuss this project on our message board!

As always, thanks for your continued support and enthusiasm!

News from the Dead Zone #141

The dust jacket artwork for 11/22/63 has been revealed and is now available at this link. The design created by veteran digital artist Rex Bonomelli offers a glimpse into the epic tale that hits the shelves on November 8th 2011. There’s also a book trailer with some jazzy music here.

King’s new short story, Herman Wouk is Still Alive, can be read online at The Atlantic, along with an interview (Stephen King on the Creative Process, the State of Fiction, and More) and an editorial.

In an interview with Ain’t it Cool News, American Vampire creator Scott Snyder says that King is contributing a foreword to Volume 2, which is due out in May and leaves open the possibility that King might write for the graphic novel again in the future.

King is also contributing an introduction to a new Faber & Faber edition of The Lord of the Flies by William Golding that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Golding’s birth. Publisher Hannah Griffiths says, “We only approached him because we knew he loved the book – writers like him must get 50 requests a day. [But] he was back on email really quickly and said ‘I don’t do a lot of these but this one I’ve got to do’.” King delivered his introduction ahead of deadline, and has written about how he first came across and read Lord of the Flies as well as giving his critical perspective on the novel. “It’s quite autobiographical,” said Griffiths, who described the introduction as “beyond my wildest dreams”. There are “so many boring combos” of authors and introductions out there, she added, but King and Golding “is just the best combination of writers ever”. The book comes out in the UK in August.

On the Dark Tower movie/TV adaptation front, Mark Verheiden has signed on to co-write the NBC TV series with Akiva Goldsman. Verheiden’s TV credits include HeroesSmallville, and Battlestar Galactica.

Mark these dates on your calendar: April 4 – May 13, 2012. That is the date of the recently announced run of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA.  “In keeping with the Alliance’s tradition of producing new American musicals, the company will produce the world premiere of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a chilling new musical with music and lyrics by John Mellencamp and book by Stephen King, as the closing show of the Alliance Stage Series season set for spring, 2012. Based on a true story, one of the world’s most popular authors and one of America’s most honored musicians have created a riveting Southern gothic musical fraught with mystery, tragedy, and ghosts of the past, along with a roots and blues-tinged score that is sure to leave audiences asking for more. Alliance Artistic Director Susan V. Booth directs, with musical direction provided by legendary producer T Bone Burnett. In the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi in 1957, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two brothers and a beautiful young girl. During the next forty years, the events of that night became the stuff of local legend. But legend is often just another word for lie. Joe McCandless knows what really happened; he saw it all. The question is whether or not he can bring himself to tell the truth in time to save his own troubled sons, and whether the ghosts left behind by an act of violence will help him – or tear the McCandless family apart forever.

Production for the second season of Haven is now underway in Nova Scotia, Canada. Vinessa Antoine has signed on for the recurring role of Evidence “Evi” Ryan. Her character is a former con artist and lover of Duke’s. Jason Priestley will also join this season to direct one episode and guest star in a four-episode story arc. The show returns on SyFy on July 15.

 

News from the Dead Zone #140

Which artist would you like to have illustrate The Wind Through the Keyhole? You get to have your say on this subject via a poll being conducted at King’s official web site. Voting closes on April 1st, so don’t delay!

King’s 6500-word short story, “Herman Wouk is Still Alive,” will be published in the May issue of The Atlantic, on newsstands April 19 and available on the web and to subscribers a week earlier. For those unfamiliar with that name, he is the author of The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

The official page count for the Scribner edition of 11/22/63 is 864. King first talked about this idea in Marvel Spotlight: The Dark Tower, published on January 27, 2007. It remains to be seen whether some of the ideas he discussed in that interview made it into the book.

King tells Entertainment Weekly that he is in talks to write an episode of the AMC zombie series The Walking Dead, which is executive-produced by Frank Darabont. If this comes about, it could be for season 2 or season 3, and King might share the writing with Joe Hill.

The next cycle in the Marvel adaptation of the Dark Tower is The Battle of Tull, which launches a five-issue arc in June. Eisner Award nominee Michael Lark joins the team for this series. “I have nothing but respect and admiration for Stephen King and the chance to work on the Dark Tower is a wonderful privilege,” said Lark. “I only hope that I can come close to conveying his vision – a daunting task, but a challenge that I’m enjoying tremendously. It has allowed me to explore the darker aspects of my art and really start pushing some of the boundaries of my own style. And who doesn’t love drawing cowboys and horses?!”

Bluewater Comics says it will work with King on a bio-comic about his “incomparable” career. Orbit: Stephen King, scheduled for release in May, will trace the King’s career from rejections and anonymity to global fame. “It includes insight on his legacy as a writer, his love of the Boston Red Sox, forays into film, drug and alcohol issues, and the accident [in 1999] that nearly cost him his life,” Bluewater says in a release. All in just 32 pages!

Sometimes authors are asked to blurb books, and sometimes they are just so taken by a book that they send in their comments unsolicited. Such is the case with King’s comments on Robert McCammon’s next book. “The Five isn’t just Robert McCammon’s best novel in years; it’s his best novel ever. Terrifying, suspenseful, unputdownable, and full of rock and roll energy. It’s also uplifting, a book you’ll finish feeling better about your world, your friends, and your music. Here’s one you’ll beg friends to read.”

And sometimes he’s asked for his opinion, as in the case of the new HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, based on the James M. Cain novel. He writes:  Kate Winslet Is Mommie Dearest in Mildred Pierce.

Filming for the second season of Haven begins in Nova Scotia in April and will carry through until late August. Here’s an article about how happy the locals are to have the production back in the area.

News from the Dead Zone #139

StephenKing.com is proud to officially announce The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole. The next installment of the epic series is set for release in 2012. For more information, see the announcement letter from Stephen King.

It won’t tell you much that’s new about Roland and his friends, but there’s a lot none of us knew about Mid-World, both past and present. The novel is shorter than DT 2-7, but quite a bit longer than the first volume—call this one DT-4.5. It’s not going to change anybody’s life, but God, I had fun.

News from the Dead Zone #138

Scribner announced Stephen King’s next novel this morning. The title is 11/22/63 and it will be in stores on November 8, 2011. A palindromic date (11/8/11) in the US.  Here is the book’s description:

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. If you had the chance to change history, would you? Would the consequences be worth it?

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

See King’s website, Scribner’s website and Hodder & Stoughton’s website for more.

At the Academy Awards last weekend, MTV asked Brian Grazer for news about casting for the Dark Tower film adaptation. Grazer said, “[Javier Bardem] is locked in psychologically,” Grazer said. “He really wants to do it, so we’re absolutely rooting for him to do it.” Until they cast Roland, they aren’t pursuing actors for any other roles, Grazer said.

King has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Mason Award from the Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He will be presented the award at a ceremony on September 23, 2011 and will be speaking and/or reading for approximately 30-45 minutes. Details regarding the speech and a possible signing to follow are still being negotiated. More information, including how to secure tickets for the event, will be posted here.

Full Dark, No Stars was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Collection. Winning titles will be announced at the Stoker Weekend in Long Island NY, June 16-19, 2011.

 

News from the Dead Zone #137

Happy New Year, everyone! Can’t believe this is my first post of 2011. And what news we have! Though several actors have been named as possible candidates to play the part of Roland in the Dark Tower movie/TV adaptation, the word today (confirmed by King’s office) is that Javier Bardem has been offered the role. No word yet on whether he has accepted, but this announcement has stirred some passioned responses. The main complaints seem to be that 1) he doesn’t look the way people envision Roland (especially the eyes) and 2) he has an accent. Neither of those issues matters to me. Give him blue contacts and a few months with a dialect coach and those matters will vanish. I think this he’s a good choice. We’ve seen him do stone cold killer before. If we can’t have Timothy Olyphant (from Justified), Bardem will do just fine.

Ron Howard has talked a little bit about his plans for the series in recent interviews. He will be directing at least the first movie and perhaps all three. He will also direct the intervening TV series, which are now better described as limited-run miniseries (six to eight hours), which will probably air on an NBC affiliate like SyFy or USA. The same actors will appear on the big screen and on the TV miniseries. Akiva Goldsman is scripting the first movie, and will write the TV component as well. One report says that the second TV series will be the flashback to Roland’s youth.

In related news, the second issue of the Marvel adaptation of Little Sisters of Eluria is out this week and the hardcover collection of The Journey Begins is out today as well. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with the standalone issue Sheemie’s Tale, which was originally slated for last fall. Some reports have it coming out this week as well.

If you missed King’s U-stream chat last fall, it can now be seen on the Full Dark, No Stars web site. In that interview he reveals that he’s written a screenplay for “A Good Marriage” and hopes it’s made into a film. He was supposed to provide details about his next book, but due to technical difficulties toward the end that question didn’t get asked, so now we’ll have to wait for a while to find out more.

In early January, King said that he would no longer be writing regular columns for Entertainment Weekly. After his three Top 10 columns in December (Top 10 Books, Top 10 TV shows, Top 10 Movies), he published one final column, So Long, My Friends. “After seven years of waxing philosophical about all things pop culture, Uncle Stevie says goodbye.” (not yet online).

For an interesting glimpse behind the scenes, check out this podcast: A peek inside the office with Marsha DeFilippo.

In the January issue of Down East magazine, a columnist asks King about his concept of “the real Maine.” He replied, “My idea of the real Maine is lunch at Rosie’s Diner in Lovell. Especially in the fall, after the summer folks go home. Grab a copy of the local paper (the Bridgton News), sit at the counter, and order the blueberry pancakes (with real maple syrup). Bacon on the side’s optional. The cook wears a Red Sox hat, there’s a picture of Elvis over the specials board,and the locals talk politics and football while the leaves fall outside. If you like, when you finish your lunch, you can stroll across to the public library. Not bad.”

News from the Dead Zone #136

Stephen King will be participating in a live chat about Full Dark, No Stars on Wednesday, December 8th, from 7-8 p.m. Eastern. If you have a question you would like King to answer during the chat, send it to Scribner . RSVP to the event and join it live here.

King signed copies of Full Dark, No Stars in Portsmouth, NH last week. Here’s an article about the event. There’s a tag-team review of the book at Amazon: Justin Cronin reviews 1922, Suzanne Collins reviews Big Driver, Margaret Atwood reviews A Good Marriage and T.C. Boyle reviews Fair Extension.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns:

News from the Dead Zone #135

A week from today Full Dark, No Stars will be released. Scribner has a dedicated website for the book, with excerpts, King’s “liner notes” and more. Don’t neglect to click around on the graphics for each story. You will be richly rewarded! The signed versions of Cemetery Dance’s limited edition are sold out, but there are still some copies of the trade edition available. A few—this beautiful version moved fast! The wraparound cover by Tomislav Tikulin is gorgeous. Each story has a different illustrator: Glenn Chadbourne, Jill Bauman, Alan M. Clark and Vincent Chong. Check out the link to see samples of the art.

Hodder & Stoughton has been producing mini movies for each story. So far I’ve seen ones for 1922 and Big Driver. Mainstream reviews are starting to come in, too. Washington Post review by Bill Sheehan, Fort Worth Star Telegram review, The Scotsman.

Mark this date in your calendar: Friday, May 17, 2013. That’s the day Universal will launch the first movie in the Dark Tower adaptation. Director Ron Howard acknowledges Peter Jackson’s influence in their approach to the adaptation. “What Peter did was a feat, cinematic history. The approach we’re taking also stands on its own, but it’s driven by the material. I love both, and like what’s going on in TV. With this story, if you dedicated to one medium or another, there’s the horrible risk of cheating material. The scope and scale call for a big screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you’d deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television. We’ve put some real time and deep thought into this, and a lot of conversations and analysis from a business standpoint, to get people to believe in this and take this leap with us. I hope audiences respond to it in a way that compels us to keep going after the first year or two of work. It’s fresh territory for me, as a filmmaker.”

If you’ve been waiting for the hardcover collection of the Marvel “N” adaptation, it’s now available. If you’ve been waiting for a second arc to the Del Rey adaptation of The Talisman, that series appears to be on hold at present.

Check out King’s final selections in his Empire.

The U.S. cable network Syfy says Haven will return next summer. The 13-episode second season will begin shooting on location in Nova Scotia, Canada, in the spring.

New Entertainment Weekly column: Stephen King on Pop Music (original title “Higher and Higher”)

News from the Dead Zone #134

Reviews of Full Dark, No Stars are coming in. You can see reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal at this thread on my message board. There’s also an audio excerpt from “A Good Marriage” at the Scribner site, read by Jessica Hecht and a Full Dark, No Stars trailer on the same page.

If you missed out on “Throttle,” the collaboration between King and his son Joe Hill, inspired by the Richard Matheson story “Duel,” there’s a new edition of He is Legend out from Tor. Hardcover, paperback and Kindle editions all available. His short story “Beachworld” will be reprinted in Issue 5 of Lightspeed magazine. There are few authors in the world about whom you can honestly say “he needs no introduction.” But when you’re talking about Stephen King, that’s most certainly the truth. “Beachworld,” one of the horror master’s rare forays into straight-up science fiction, follows the plight of the two survivors of a far-future interstellar spaceflight, who crash land on a harsh and unforgiving planet.

According to the USA Today review of American Vampire, King is toying with another comic book idea called Afterlife. “It’s something I’d like to try,” he says. “But then on the other hand, I’d also like to learn how to be a gourmet cook, so who knows?” You can read his introduction to the hardcover edition here.

The next series in the Marvel Dark Tower adaptation will be The Little Sisters Of Eluria, launching in December.

King offered his opinion in a CNN piece about the ebook industry. He talks about what scares him in this clip from his appearance at the New Yorker festival. “Disney pictures are scary as shit. They all are.”

Here’s an interview King did while on the set of Sons of Anarchy and a bunch of stills from his cameo.

Off Broadway, the MCC Theater has acquired the rights to mount the first professional production of Carrie since it closed on Broadway in 1988, three days after opening to a pile of hide-under-the-covers reviews and setting a record by losing more than $7 million. The musical’s original creative team and the director Stafford Arima are working toward a major production at the Lucille Lortel Theater during the 2011-12 season, according to MCC’s co-artistic director Bernard Telsey. Here’s the full article, and here’s the original review of the musical from 1988.

For Italian King fans, Tutto su Stephen King, the translation of The Stephen King Illustrated Companion, will be released by Sperling & Kupfer on October 26.

Recent Entertainment Weekly column: Stephen King’s Hits and Misses

News From the Dead Zone #133

Look at the Dark Tower. It’s a movie. Now it’s a TV series. Now it’s a movie again. Now it’s both.

Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television issued a press release this week detailing their creative plan for an adaptation of the Dark Tower series, including related short stories and the Marvel comic series. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman are planning for the first film in the trilogy to be immediately followed by a television series that will bridge the second film. After the second film, the television series will pick up, allowing viewers to explore the adventures of the protagonist as a young man as a bridge to the third film and beyond. Here’s the official page at King’s web site tracking the project.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King said, “I always thought it would take more than a single movie, but I didn’t see this solution coming — i.e., several movies and TV series. It was Ron [Howard] and Akiva [Goldsman]‘s idea. Once it was raised, I thought at once it was the solution.” He also joked that the cast of the Twilight series should be considered for various roles and suggested himself for the voice of Blaine the mono.

Don’t forget to check out the September 21 episode of the FX series Sons of Anarchy, which will feature King’s cameo as a guy named Bachman.

The comparatively rare King short story “The Crate,” which was adapted as one of the installments in Creepshow, will be reprinted in Shivers VI from CD Publications. (I also have a story in this massive anthology, by the way.)