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 #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 #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 #132

Still a few months to go before Full Dark, No Stars is published. However, Scribner has posted an excerpt from “A Good Marriage” which should whet your appetite for the collection. Craig Wasson (who was the reader for Blockade Billy) and Jessica Hecht will read the audio version, to be released simultaneously with the hardcover. There was a report that King would narrate introductions to each story, but the galleys don’t have story intros, just an afterward.

Remember Wilma (“Just call me Billy, everyone does”) from Creepshow, as portrayed by Adrienme Barbeau? That segment was based on the short story “The Crate,” originally published in Gallery magazine and later collected in a couple of anthologies around 1980-81. The story will see the light of day again in the CD anthology Shivers VI, which is bound for the printer next week. In addition to this relatively rare story, the anthology contains a Peter Straub novella and fiction from other familiar names, including yours truly.

King’s cameo appearance on Sons of Anarchy will air on FX on his birthday, September 21. His character’s last name is an homage to Richard Bachman.

King will be appearing at The New Yorker Festival on October 2nd, 2010. He will be part of a panel discussion on vampires along with Noel Carroll, Matt Reeves, and Melissa Rosenberg, moderated by Joan Acocella. Click here for more information about the Festival.

After the current Gunslinger series finishes from Marvel, there will be a single issue in November focusing on Sheemie Ruiz called Sheemie’s Tale. “This is the story of one of the more powerful breakers in Thunderclap: The mentally handicapped, formerly mute young man known as Sheemie. He possesses the awesome power to shatter the very Beams that hold the Dark Tower in place—the fulcrum of existence itself. But Sheemie does not want to destroy the underpinnings of reality. He is in the prison of Devar-Toi and all he wants is his friends—his ka-tet to come for him. And one of them is coming for him even now. One of them known as the last gunslinger, Roland Deschain. And not all the horrors of Thunderclap will stand in his way! Presented by those twin titans of Marvel’s Dark Tower books—writer Robin Furth and artist Richard Isanove. It’s a journey of searching and salvation you won’t soon forget.”

Time is running out to get your photo submissions in to Stephen’s Empire.

Here’s a neat story about a Canadian musician who got permission to set the words of Sara Tidwell from Bag of Bones to music: Stephen King takes shining to Toronto blues singer.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns:

News From the Dead Zone #130

“Things are happening and they are happening fast,” Stephen King says about recent news articles about developments in a possible Dark Tower adaptation. “Any reports you see might be taken with a grain of salt for the next couple of weeks. You will know the news from the official source as soon as we are able to post it,” the official source being www.stephenking.com, of course. The announced plan has Ron Howard directing a movie or movies for Universal, scripted by Akiva Goldsman, produced by Brian Grazer, that would then lead into a TV series.

Mick Garris will be directing a four-hour miniseries adaptation of Bag of Bones that might air on network television sometime next year. “Bag of Bones is something we tried to do as a feature for two or three years,” Garris tells Dread Central. “But the way features are now, if it’s not about teenagers or a sequel or a remake, forget it. We wanted to do something much more adult and passionate than studios are making now. It’s a ghost story for grown-ups. Television is the only place you can do that.” Check out a video of his conversation with Dread Central.

Speaking of video, here’s an hour long video of King at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County, Florida. As part of his appearance, he reads the short story “The Old Dude’s Ticker,” which is only available in The Big Book of NECON.

Did you see a familiar name in the early pages of Blockade Billy? One “Ben Vincent,” who hits one out of the park? Hey, people have fared far worse in Stephen King novels. I was thrilled to be Tuckerized this way. By the way, the Scribner edition of this story will also contain the Shirley Jackson Award nominated “Morality,” originally published in Esquire. The audio version is narrated by Craig Wasson, to whom King devoted his April 23/30 Entertainment Weekly column. You can hear an excerpt from the story here.

The SyFy TV series Haven is in production in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. There’s a brief teaser here. The pilot is directed by Adam Kane and stars Emily Rose,  Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour, Richard Donat and John Dunsworth. The show premieres on July 9.

News from the Dead Zone #128

News From the Dead Zone

King’s 2010 book from Scribner will be a collection of four previously unpublished novellas. Full Dark, No Stars will be out in November, possibly on November 9.  (Update: One of the novellas is about Hemingford Home.)

Mick Garris’s adaptation of Bag of Bones has switched gears. Previously planned as a feature film, it will now be turned into a television miniseries. Screenwriter Matt Venne is converting his film script into the miniseries format. Though no details about the network have emerged, Garris says that  the deal is being finalized and he hopes to start shooting in the late spring to early summer.

He is Legend, the Richard Matheson tribute anthology Christopher Conlon edited in 2009 for Gauntlet Press, will be reprinted by Tor in trade hardcover this fall, with the paperback appearing sometime after that. The book contains the King/Joe Hill collaboration “Throttle.” There will also be a Japanese reprint.

SyFy  announced it has cast Emily Rose as the lead in its upcoming series Haven, inspired by The Colorado Kid, which the network said will premiere later this year. Production begins this spring in Canada. Rose will play FBI agent Audrey Parker, who investigates a murder in the small town of Haven, Maine, and finds herself caught up in a web of supernatural activity among its citizens.

In Entertainment Weekly: Stephen King on J.D. Salinger: ‘The last of the great post-WWII American writers’ and Stephen King Talks About “The Jay Leno Show”

News From The Dead Zone #113

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

This weekend’s issue of USA Weekend magazine features a King cover story, 35 Scary Years with Stephen King. The article is also online at the USA Weekend website. To find out what newspapers carry the insert in your area, go here.

Here’s an article where King’s agent, Ralph Vicinanza, discusses “Ur.” The story is now available for iPhone users, too, but not for general audiences yet.

Director Mick Garris and producer Mark Sennet met with Maine Governor John Baldacci last week to discuss the possibility of filming Bag of Bones in Maine and to explore financial incentives for the film. Bag of Bones has a $20 million budget, and Sennet expects to spend $10 million wherever the film is made. Filming could begin as early as this summer.

Here’s a new website for the film adaptation of Dolan’s Cadillac.

Here are interviews with Robin Furth and Tony Shasteen from New York Comic Con, discussing the Del Ray graphic adaptation of The Talisman. There have been reports of an Issue 0 installment featuring an episode that does not appear in the book itself, but serves as a prequel to the whole story.

In Entertainment Weekly: Torture and “24” and I love Breaking Bad

News From The Dead Zone #108

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced the acquisition of the comic book and graphic novel rights to The Talisman. The creative team on the project will be announced soon, and the first issue of the monthly comic is planned for late summer/early fall 2009. “Illustrating The Talisman in the depth that it deserves will involve at least 24 issues of comics, probably more,” said Del Rey Editor in Chief, Betsy Mitchell, who acquired the project from agent Ralph Vicinanza. “It’s a tremendously visual story, filled with images that burn in memory long after the book has been closed.” King’s Dark Tower comics consistently inhabit the top of the comic book sales charts, and his recent series, Dark Tower: Long Road Home was the top-selling comic book in North America in March 2008.

In a recent interview , frequent Spielberg co-producer, Frank Marshall said that The Talisman is back to being a movie. “It’s kind of on the backburner since we’re waiting to see how everything shakes out with the DreamWorks, Paramount, Amblin thing.”

The 10th anniversary edition of Bag of Bones is out in trade paperback. In addition to a Q&A with King where he talks about ghosts, secrets, and being alive, the book contains “Cat From Hell,” which will also be in Just After Sunset.

King and Richard Russo will participate in an on-stage conversation followed by a book signing to be held at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, on Thursday, November 6th. The event is A Benefit for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of The Odyssey Bookshop. Additional details about the event.

King is Suspense Magazine’s author of the month for October. He conducted a short  interview with the site.

CU-Boulder film student Luke Cheney is making a student film of “In the Death Room,” shooting on Nov. 15 and 16 in Boulder and a Denver studio. Stay tuned for photos from the set as they become available.

In this interview with Patrick McGrath, the author talks about how King helped him get his green card!

Here’s a link to the recent SportsCenter Commercial featuring King.

Barnes & Noble Review, an online literary destination for readers, featuring industry-heralded book reviews, columns, features, and interviews from a wide range of established critics, reviewers, and authors, is celebrating its first anniversary. Regular weekly features on the Review continue to offer readers book news that’s both entertaining and enlightening. In November, King will bring his three favorite reads to Guest Books, where he will join Jamie Lee Curtis, George Pelecanos, and Sandra Tsing Loh in our growing group of notables.

Recent articles in Entertainment Weekly:

News From The Dead Zone #106

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

This week, in Entertainment Weekly, King tells us How TV ruined baseball.

As you’ve probably heard by now, King’s short story “N.” is being adapted as an animated comic by the team at Marvel. During the month of August, a new 1-2 minute episode of the story appears each weekday, for a total of 25 installments. There are many ways to see this on the web and on cell phones, but why not just check back here each day when the new one goes live?

Or you can wait until November and get the limited collector edition of Just After Sunset, which will be packaged with a DVD containing all 25 episodes. King is optimistic about the video’s prospects. “I think they’re readers,” he says of likely video viewers. But he admits that the venture is “something of a test” whose outcome isn’t certain. The story will also be released as a comic book miniseries in early 2009.

The video series has been getting good coverage, including articles in Time magazine, the L.A. Times and at the MTV website.

If you’ve been waiting for news about the illustrated edition of The Little Sisters of Eluria plus The Gunslinger coming from Donald M. Grant, here’s the latest: The book has been sent to the printer and is being proofed. There will be a traycased and a slipcased edition, both illustrated by Michael Whelan. It will contain new art as well as the art originally published in the first edition of The Gunslinger. Grant says: “Price, release date and other details will be posted on our web-site and published in our newsletter. We expect that this will be announced in four to six weeks.”

Pocket books will be issuing a 10th-anniversary trade paperback edition of Bag of Bones, featuring bonus text from King this fall. It includes a Q&A with King where he talks about ghosts, secrets, and being alive.

The Children of the Corn remake is gearing up to start filming in the Quad Cities area of Iowa during September. The remake is being written, directed and produced by Donald Borchers, a producer on the original movie, which was filmed in the Sioux City, Iowa, area and spawned numerous sequels. The budget for the production is estimated at $2 million. Borchers says, “It’s no longer requisite to have a happy ending. We wanted to stay faithful to the decisions in [King’s] original story.”

News From The Dead Zone #103

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Marvel has announced details of their planned graphic novel adaptation of The Stand, which is scheduled to launch in September. The series writer is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illustrations will be by Mike Perkins, with color art from Laura Martin. The current plan is to do six five-issue arcs, though that is still flexible. They will be basing the adaptation on the uncut version of the novel.

The Dark Tower: Treachery, the third arc of that series, also debuts in September.

The ultra-rare King short story “The Old Dude’s Ticker” is being reprinted in The BIG Book of NECON edited by Bob Booth, from Cemetery Dance. The story only appeared previously in NECON XX. NECON, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is an annual Horror Writers convention in Rhode Island. I’ve been going to it for the last several years. “The Old Dude’s Ticker,” co-attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, is a riff on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Filming began last week on Dolan’s Cadillac in Regina and Moose Jaw, Canada. The cast includes Christian Slater (Dolan), Wes Bentley (Robinson) and Emmanuelle Vaugier. Jeff Beesley is directing from a script by Richard Dooling (Kingdom Hospital). Filming will also take place in Quebec and Las Vegas.

It looks like there’s starting to be some activity in the adaptation of Bag of Bones. A couple of news items reported that location scouting was taking place in Michigan. The West Michigan Tourist Association has been seeking volunteers who’ll give up their “time kissed” lakefront cabin in the trees as a stand-in for “Sara Laughs.”

The final season of USA’s The Dead Zone is now available on DVD in a three-disc set containing thirteen episodes, commentary and behind-the-scenes segments.

News From The Dead Zone #99

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

The debut entry Cemetery Dance’s MySpace blog is my report on The Three Kings event in Washington D.C. two weeks ago. There was also a nice write-up in The Washington Post.

Marvel announced Dark Tower: The End-World Almanac, which will be published on July 2. “Woe unto those who traverse beyond the cursed Borderlands into End-World! ‘Tis a twisted and desolate realm where it seems as if the world passed ages ago. From the blasted landscapes of Thunderclap to the frozen heights of Empathica, End-World shows no mercy to unwary young Gunslingers. In a world where information—and a bit of luck—is the key to survival, the End-World Almanac serves as your guide to the Badlands, Le Casse Roi Russe and beyond!”

Gunslinger Born and its artists received a total of four nominations in the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: Best Limited Series, Best Penciller/Inker (Jae Lee), Best Cover Artist (Jae Lee) and Best Coloring (Richard Isanove). The results will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, July 25 at Comic-Con International.

“A Very Tight Place” will be in McSweeney’s #27, due out on May 1. Much of this 70+ page story takes place in a portable toilet at an abandoned construction site and is classic King. It is also the first King story I can recall that has a gay protagonist. You can get discounted issues at Amazon. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until Just After Midnight comes out this fall to read this great story. It’s not for the squeamish, though. Positively icky in places.

Mick Garris will direct Bag of Bones as a feature film, and executive-produce with Mark Sennett. The screenplay was written by Matt Venne. “What appeals to me about King in general and Bag of Bones in particular is how human it is,” Garris told Fangoria. “The recent King stuff is very adult and very passionate, which I really respond to. I just love the idea of doing a grown-up ghost story.”

Here are some reports about King’s appearance with Lauren Groff:

Recent Entertainment Weekly column: Videogame Lunacy.

News From The Dead Zone #75

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

August 17, 2007: Fangoria reports that Mick Garris will be directing a feature film adaptation of Bag of Bones, written by Matt Venne and coproduced with Mark Sennet. Garris is also producing the film version of From a Buick 8, directed by Tobe Hooper and said the he would love to direct Gerald’s Game, his favorite King novel.

Read King’s thoughts about the ending of the Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling’s Ministry of Magic) and another EW column: The Joy of Looking, or: What I learned from watching Ellen.

This slipped under some people’s radars, but The Gunslinger’s Guidebook is now out. It was delayed by a week due to some binding issues.

You can now read an excerpt from The Science of Stephen King at the publisher’s web site.

1408 will be released on DVD on October 2, with deleted scenes, featurettes and an alternate ending.

Best American Short Stories will be out on October 10. Edited by King, contributors include Richard Russo, John Barth, Jim Shepard, Alice Munro, William Gay, T.C. Boyle, Mary Gordon, Kate Walbert, Ann Beattie, and Louis Auchincloss.

“The Gingerbread Girl” will be released on Simon & Schuster audio next May.

The Shining: Special Edition DVD will be out from Warner Home Video on October 23. Disc One: Audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter. Disc Two: The Making of The Shining, with optional commentary by Vivian Kubrick (from the previous DVD),  new View from The Overlook: Crafting The Shining featurette, new The Visions of Stanley Kubrick featurette,  new Wendy Carlos, Composer featurette.

News From The Dead Zone #2

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Happy New Year, readers. Those of you who ordered the limited edition of The Road to the Dark Tower should be seeing your copies soon if you haven’t received them already. Cemetery Dance is shipping copies as fast as they can pack ’em, and I’ve heard from people who’ve been notified by Amazon that their orders are being filled, too. I’m delighted at how the book turned out. The design is wonderful and I’m especially fond of the Tarot card endpapers.

I’m not much one to look back at the end of the year, or make resolutions or anything like that. However, since he started doing his column for Entertainment Weekly, King has done best-of lists for films, books and music from the previous year. Here are the columns that feature his lists:

If you haven’t heard about The Secretary of Dreams yet, then you’ve missed out on the chance to get a lettered or numbered edition, unless stray copies turn up between now and publication, which is anticipated sometime in the first half of the year. The graphic short story collection, illustrated by my buddy Glenn Chadbourne (who worked with us on The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book and illustrated The Road to the Dark Tower) adapts “The Road Virus Heads North,” “Uncle Otto’s Truck,” “The Rainy Season,” “The Reach,” “Jerusalem’s Lot,” and “Home Delivery.” What’s unique about these adaptations is that every word of the original stories is conserved. Check out the sample illustrations starting here and working your way through the six stories. Even better news: this is Volume I, which means Glenn will be working on a follow-up this year. This is going to be a gorgeous production that I’m looking forward to seeing.

I haven’t had a chance to work my completely through Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished yet, but I’m very impressed by what I’ve seen and read so far. I was surprised to rediscover how many of King’s stories had been substantially revised on repeat publications. Rocky Wood does a yeoman’s job of chronicling all these updates and revisions and makes me want to go back and reread stories in their original forms.

I’ve updated the Guide to Identifying First Editions, which appears on King’s official web page. It’s now current through The Colorado Kid and corrects a few errors and omissions in the original version.

King wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to a review of a D. H. Lawrence biography. He chastises the reviewer for thinking that a person may be “better able to understand a great writer by reading about him than by reading him.” It’s a riff on the line from Different Seasons: “It is the tale, not he who tells it,” which King updates by saying, “The writer’s rainbow is always found in his work.”

I’m putting the finishing touches on my column for Cemetery Dance magazine issue #55, with in depth coverage of Cell, which I read last week. I’ll have more to say about the book here as publication date approaches. If Richard Bachman hadn’t died before cell phones became part of our culture, this might have had his name on the cover. It’s a dark, gritty, pessimistic novel in many ways and stands in stark contrast to the fundamental optimism of The Stand. I’ll not say more on that subject until more of you have had a chance to read the book. Keep an eye out for the names of the headmaster of Gaiten Academy and a gentleman in a Miami Dolphins hat who appears late in the story. The Publishers Weekly review is online at Amazon. It’s relatively spoiler-free and concludes, “King’s imagining of what is more or less post-Armageddon Boston is rich, and the sociological asides made by his characters along the way…are jaunty and witty. The novel’s three long set pieces are all pretty gory, but not gratuitously so, and the book holds together in signature King style.”

Here is an interesting article about King’s appearance at the New Yorker festival last fall from the Sydney Morning Herald. Note the following snippet, which is surely the genesis of Cell.

King told a story about leaving a New York hotel to get a coffee one morning about six years ago. “A lady under the canopy was on her cell phone and the doorman was getting someone a cab. I thought, what if she got this message on her cell phone that she could not deny and she had to attack everyone she saw – and she started with the doorman, she ripped his throat out.”

The Scribner edition of Cell contains a sneak peak at Lisey’s Story. The first twelve pages of the book are presented in King’s own handwriting. The excerpt is not the same as what we’ve previously seen in “Lisey and the Madman.” The opening chapter is called “Lisey and Amanda (Everything the Same)” and deals with Lisey Landon two years after the death of her famous writer husband Scott. She’s finally going through his writing office, trying to decide what to do about his unpublished works. Amanda is her older sister, and there seems to be tension between the two. My feeling is that this book will be in the Bag of Bones vein.

Each time I update this online column, I’m going to tackle a FAQ, which comes either from questions I see on King’s message board or ones directed to me via e-mail.

Q: Does King have any plans to complete “The Plant”?

A: The short answer is: “It’s not on his to-do list at the moment.” When King stopped work after finishing Book One: Zenith Rising, he said that he felt like he was pushing the story instead of having it pull him along. That’s never a good feeling. My guess is that until the day comes when the story recaptures his imagination and sweeps him up again, “The Plant” will stay in its current state. Who knows? Someday a few years from now he may find new wind to breath life into the story. Those of us who bore with the Dark Tower series for two decades have learned patience toward the storyteller.

Have news, information, corrections? E-mail me!