Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #173

If you read back over my previous several posts here, you’ll see that they’ve all been leading up today, the launch of Season 5 of Haven, the Syfy TV series loosely based on The Colorado Kid. This season will consist of 26 episodes, spread over the fall and spring in two 13-episode blocks. I visited the set at the end of June, when they were working on the 7th and 8th episodes. This morning, I had the chance to see tonight’s episode, “See No Evil,” which starts immediately after the final moments of Season 4, at which point William had been tossed through the portal under the lighthouse and Audrey had become her original form of herself, Mara, a trouble-maker in the most literal form.

In the first episode, something destroys the lighthouse and the cavern beneath and, presumably, the portal. The main characters are scattered far and wide before the blast, so for a while no one knows where anyone else is, and some time is spent in getting everyone back together. Nathan is the first one to encounter “Audrey,” but she’s not the woman he loves. Not on the surface, anyway. Mara (and kudos to Emily Rose for creating such a different personality, someone who is as gleefully malign as William) has an agenda, and she’s not going to let anyone stand in her way. She wants to get William back, something she can only achieve by a doorway or, rather, via a thinny, which will be a familiar concept to Dark Tower fans. However, something vexes her plans. And Nathan hasn’t given up hope that Audrey is still inside somewhere and he can bring her back.

On another front, Duke is trying to find Jennifer, who is the only lighthouse person unaccounted for. And, of course, there’s a Trouble, which manifests itself in people having their eyes and/or mouths sewn shut with a leather cord that defies all efforts to remove it. Though everyone tries to impress on Dwight the importance of reining in Mara, he knows this Trouble has the potential to be deadly, so that’s his #1 priority. The repercussions of Audrey giving Duke back his Trouble in the penultimate episode last season also start to come to light, and it’s a doozy. And, based on the previews for the season I’ve seen so far, there are going to be callbacks to a lot of past Troubles. Mara made ’em, so she could potentially use them as weapons to achieve her nefarious goals.

And I’m very worried about Dave Teagues. Is he having morphine-induced nightmares or terrifying memories?

Interested in learning more about the origins of the Troubles? There’s a 16-page mini-comic in the Season 4 DVD, and a web series called Haven Origins coming on September 12. Here’s a trailer for it.


King will embark on a six-city book tour to promote the release of Revival. He will appear in New York City (Nov 11), Washington, DC (Nov 12), Kansas City, MO (Nov 13), Wichita, KS (Nov 14), Austin, TX (Nov 15) and South Portland, ME (Nov 17). Further details regarding the itinerary will be posted on King’s official website on September 15th.

Issue 1 of The Prisoner, the first cycle adapting The Drawing of the Three from Marvel, came out this week. For the first time, these comics are being offered digitally as well as in print.

In case you missed it, King’s latest short story “That Bus Is Another World” appeared in the August issue of Esquire. Also, here is King’s response to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. And here is an interview with King about how he teaches writing, from the Atlantic.

The PBS series Finding Your Roots will feature King in its first episode of the new season on September 23. In this promo, King is shown a photo of his father and in this one, he learns more about his distant ancestors.

Encore is running King movies every day during September, with a special selection scheduled for King’s birthday.

There’s lots of news on the movie/TV front. Let’s hit the high spots:

  • A Good Marriage will be in cinemas and available via Video On Demand on October 3. ‘We went in fearlessly’: Stephen King on adapting A Good Marriage for film.
  • Big Driver will premiere on Lifetime on Saturday, October 18 at 8pm ET/PT. The movie stars Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis, Joan Jett, Will Harris and Ann Dowd (from The Leftovers). The script is by Richard Christian Matheson, with Mikael Salomon directing. Here is a teaser video.
  • Mercy, the film adaptation of “Gramma,” will be “dumped to digital” in October. I assume this means it’s going straight to Video On Demand.
  • Mr. Mercedes will be a 10-episode TV series. Jack Bender will be on the production team.
  • CBS has ordered a “put pilot” (a serious commitment) from Warner Bros. TV for a series based on “The Things They Left Behind.” It is described as a supernatural procedural drama in which an unlikely pair of investigators carry out the unfinished business of the dead.
  • Mark Romanek will direct Overlook Hotel, the prequel to The Shining.
  • In this video, King discusses his involvement with the second season of Under the Dome, which is nearing the end of its second season. There are also a couple of good interviews with him: Stephen King Isn’t Afraid Of The Big Bad Adaptation and Written by — and tweaked for TV by — Stephen King
  • Now that Cell has wrapped, King teased what he could about the film. “The movie is not totally close to the original screenplay that I wrote,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, the end of it is so goddamn dark and scary. It’s really kind of a benchmark there.”
  • Writer Jeff Buhler has come aboard director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s Pet Sematary reboot for Paramount. He discusses the project with Dread Central.
  • The Stand director Josh Boone says: I finished writing the script maybe a month ago. Stephen [King] absolutely loved it. It’s, I think, the first script ever approved by him. [It’ll be] a single version movie. Three hours. It hews very closely to the novel…I don’t imagine we would shoot the movie until next Spring at the earliest. His full comments are available at Collider.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #166

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #164

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #163

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

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

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

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

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 #153

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from the Dead Zone #150

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the links fit to print:

News from the Dead Zone #149

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

News from the Dead Zone #139

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

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