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 #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.

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 #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 #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.

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.

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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 #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 #129

Of course the big news is the pending publication of Blockade Billy, a novella or novelette or novelesque, or something like that. It’s a baseball story with a twist, published by CD Publications this month. Of the book King says, “”I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who’ve spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense. People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story. Ask no more; this is it.” The story reveals the secret life of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely, a man who may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, although today no one remembers his name. He was the first — and only — player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history. As you read the story, be on the lookout for a character with a very familiar name…

Scribner plans to release an audio version of the story in May. Publishers Weekly says (in part): this suspenseful short is a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home.

The four stories contained in King’s next book, Full Dark, No Stars are:  1922 (The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father),  Big Driver (Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences), Fair Extension  (Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay), and A Good Marriage (Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage).

King says that he “originally used Hemingford Home in The Stand because I wanted to put Mother Abigail in the American heartland. That’s Nebraska. Hemingford was in the right place. … I love Nebraska and keep going back to it in my fiction — when I’m not in Maine, that is.”

Haven, the new SyFy series inspired by The Colorado Kid, will premiere on Friday, July 9. “It’s definitely based on the characters of ‘The Colorado Kid, but I would say it’s about a girl named Audrey [Parker], who’s an orphan and becomes an FBI agent,” star Emily Rose says. “She ends up getting sent on this case up in Maine. When she goes up there, she kind of starts having these things happen to her, and she sort of starts feeling like she’s been called home. Paranormal things happen, and some exciting things happen for her, and it’s not only her unraveling this murder case, but kind of unraveling the case of herself, honestly. It’s pretty fascinating.” Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour also star in the series.

Dolan’s Cadillac is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. My advice: rent it or skip it. I’ll have a full review in an upcoming issue of CD magazine.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns: Stephen King on the Academy Awards, and Stephen King on the Kindle and the iPad. You might also be interested in Stephen King’s scary list: commercial radio, contemporary country music

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”

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Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Hodder & Stoughton, King’s UK publisher, has an online/offline promotion where people are sent on a treasure hunt to find the more than 5000 snippets of Under the Dome that are being hidden by other participants all across the web. Facebook and Twitter feeds are being used to distribute clues to the location. You just never know where one of these snippets might turn up.

There’s a short interview with King at the Science Fiction Book Club (may contain mild spoilers) and a letter from King to readers at the same site. Look for an excerpt from the book in the issue of Entertainment Weekly that will be on news stands next week.

A second set of 60 pages from The Cannibals is now up at King’s website. We won’t see any more of the book online this year, if ever.

Marvel announced a new chapter in the Dark Tower graphic fiction adaptation-Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. Beginning in 2010, the creative team of Peter David, Robin Furth and Richard Isanove return for a new 30-issue arc exploring the life of Roland Deschain, revealing how and why he began his pursuit of the man in black across Mid-World’s Mohaine Desert! “We are extremely excited to continue our epic journey into the DARK TOWER universe with THE GUNSLINGER,” says Ruwan Jayatilleke, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development-Acquisitions & Licensing. “And we are equally ecstatic to continue our collaboration with Stephen King as well as keeping comic book fans on their toes!” A look back at key points along the road to DARK TOWER: THE FALL OF GILEAD #6 and the cataclysmic events to come

King has submitted an exclusive, all-new article for publication in Fangoria magazine. The 7,500-plus-word essay, entitled “What’s Scary,” will be published in two parts, beginning with #289, on sale in December, and concluding in #290, arriving in January 2010. “I’ve wanted to be a Fango contributor ever since I purchased my first issue,” King says. “For me, this is a nightmare come true.”

NBC Universal and E1 Entertainment are co-financing a 13-episode TV series called Haven that is based in part on The Colorado Kid. The project “centers on a spooky town in Maine where cursed folk live normal lives in exile. When those curses start returning, FBI agent Audrey Parker is brought in to keep those supernatural forces at bay — while trying to unravel the mysteries of Haven.” Scott Shepherd will serve as showrunner and exec produce with Lloyd Segan and Shawn Piller, all three of whom were exec producers on USA Network’s version of The Dead Zone. Two more The Dead Zone alumni, Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn, are writing the pilot and will also serve as exec producers.

On October 20, Del Rey Comics will release the first issue of The Talisman: The Road of Trials . It’s being adapted by writer Robin Furth and artist Tony Shasteen . Here are 12 exclusive images and a Robin Furth interview: Stephen King Gets Serious About Comic Books.

Entertainment Weekly columns: What’s Next for Pop Culture? and The One That Got Away