Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #182

Next week will be busy for Stephen King. On September 9, he will be appearing in Cambridge, MA in conversation with Lee Child to promote the new Jack Reacher novel, Make Me. The next day, he will be among the eleven individuals receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in the East Wing of the White House. The citation says, “One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature. ” Then, on the following day, September 11, he will be a guest on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show during its inaugural week.

Last week, King penned an opinion piece for the NY Times entitled Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? and then engaged in a Q&A with readers. There’s also a By the Book interview with him from back in June and another in conjunction with the audiobook release of “Drunken Fireworks.” King also did a Q&A—asking the questions this time—with American Crime creator John Ridley.

Though it was earlier announced that the third book in the Bill Hodges Mercedes trilogy would be called The Suicide Prince, apparently there’s been a change of heart, and it will now be titled End of Watch.

King is providing a new introduction to The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Classic Horror by William Sloane. Of the books, King says, “The re-issue of these two remarkable novels in long overdue… I can think of no other novels exactly like these two, either in style or substance. My only regret is that William Sloane did not continue…Yet we must be grateful for what we have, which is a splendid rediscovery. These two novels are best read after dark, I think, possibly on an autumn night with a strong wind blowing the leaves around outside.”

It’s been a turbulent time for various adaptations of King’s work. It was announced last week that there would be no fourth season of Under the Dome. Production in North Carolina had already wrapped and items from the series were being sold off because the tax incentives the production received had been cut, so even if the show had been renewed, it would not have filmed in the Wilmington area.

Then it was announced that the forthcoming Season 5B of Haven, which debuts on October 8th on SyFy, would be the last. There have been differing stances taken as to whether this is a cancellation or whether that was the plan all along. Showrunner Gabrielle Stanton said that even though the decision came after filming had wrapped, the creative team was prepared for the end. “We really looked at these 13 episodes as if… If we were indeed going to end, what would be the best ending we could possibly do for Haven?”

Cary Fukunaga has dropped out as director of the It remake. Some sources reported that Fukunaga clashed with the studio over the budget, arguments that impacted his casting decisions. However, this week Fukunaga said in an interview that the disagreement had more to do with creative vision than finances. “I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience”, he explained. “In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive”.

In more hopeful news, Nikolaj Arcel has been officially named director of the first Dark Tower movie, and Sony announced a release date of June 13, 2017. Arcel and screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen are rewriting the previous draft by Akiva Goldsman.

There were some great photos posted of King behind the wheel of a very familiar looking red 1958 Fury on the set of 11/22/63. The Volo Auto Museum loaned the vintage car to the production. In exchange for the loan of the car, the museum requested only to be compensated for shipping costs — and to have King autograph Christine’s dashboard.

The Stand still seems to be lumbering forward, and there was news that Warner Bros. and CBS Films were in talks with Showtime to mount an eight-part miniseries that would air before the first feature. And, according to Dread Central, the Pet Sematary reboot is ready to go once a budget can be nailed down. The script is by Jeff Buhler, and the film will be directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Buhler says, “We really wanted to get into the emotional aspects of it. There’s still plenty of visceral horror that’s explored, but I’ve always felt that if you lean more into the characters and into their emotional lives, when the visceral shit hits the fan, it’s ten times more scary.”

MTV revealed that King would have a cameo role in the audio version of Joe Hill’s Locke & Key. The principle narrators are Haley Joel Osment and Tatiana Maslany, with special appearances by Hill, artist Gabriel Rodriguez, and Kate Mulgrew. The audiobook will be free from October 5 to November 4, after which it’ll become a paid product in the Audible store.

The next cycle of stories in the Marvel graphic novel adaptation launched this week with The Drawing of the Three – The Lady of Shadows #1. Enter Odetta Holmes, a wealthy, Civil Rights activist, living in the South. But Odetta has a dark secret–and to uncover that secret, we’ll have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Don’t forget to visit Rich Chizmar, me and a host of guest essayists over at Stephen King Revisited.

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