Happy New Year — and welcome to the first News from the Dead Zone of 2016. A leap year. A year in which we will see at least one new novel from Stephen King (End of Watch, June) and one major miniseries adaptation (11.22.63). Probably more good stuff, but that’s all we’re sure of at the moment.
I had the chance to watch 11.22.63 a couple of weekends ago. The eight-part series launches on Hulu on Presidents’ Day in the U.S. Unlike Netflix, Hulu will be doling the series out in weekly installments instead of releasing the entire “season” at once. I’ll have a preview shortly before the first episode airs on February 15, then a mid-season state-of-the miniseries and a wrap-up once the whole thing is available. I’ll say this now: it is a terrific series, very binge-worthy. (See the official trailer here.) It diverges from the novel in a number of significant ways, but it captures the essence of the book. And you’re going to love Sadie Dunhill. She’s wonderful. The first episode debuted at Sundance last week, and the early reviews have been uniformly glowing. The show will be distributed by Fox in a number of countries in Europe.
We’re still supposed to see the first Dark Tower movie this time next year, but it still seems to be in pre-production. There was a lot of debate after Idris Elba was announced as the front-runner to play Roland (I think that is inspired casting and I’d love to see it), but that hasn’t been finalized. Matthew McConaughey was in the running to play Walter Padick but, again, nothing final. During a Reddit AMA session in December, Ron Howard said, “Stephen King is very excited about the script, I’ll say that, and Nikolaj Arcel our director is doing great work on that script and preparing. Do we have an absolute green light? Nope, not quite, but fingers crossed!”
If you subscribe to the Simon & Schuster mailing list, then you probably know already that much of King’s backlist has been reissued in paperback editions. You’d know this because of a flood of emails sent out at the beginning of the year, one per title! I may be overlooking something, but it seems like the only titles that remain with other publishers at the moment are The Stand, Danse Macabre, Joyland, The Colorado Kid, and Night Shift. The deal also means that titles that previously were not available as eBooks or audio versions will be released in those formats.
This is a strange one. I found reference to a company that is doing an adaptation of Insomnia as an episodic series of Virtual Reality experiences. I have NO idea what that will end up looking like.
Recent publications and appearances:
- A Q&A: On What Hollywood Owes Authors When Their Books Become Films
- John D. and Me (NY Times)
- Stephen King and John Grisham tell their stories on stage
- The Diane Rehm show (NPR)
- Maine Seniors Magazine interview
Projects we might see (or might not…) in 2016:
- Revival: It was just announced that Josh Boone is going to direct an adaptation of this novel in 2016, pushing back The Stand, assuming a studio picks up the project.
- Cell: It’s hard to know what to think about this one. It’s been in the can for nearly two years, but no one seems to want to distribute it. There was a glimmer of hope recently when it was announced that the movie would premiere at FrightFest in Scotland in February, but there was a follow-up announcement saying the premiere had to be scrapped “due to circumstances beyond our control, mainly a shift in release dates.” No idea what that means, but it doesn’t sound encouraging.
- Overlook Hotel, the prequel to The Shining based on “Before the Play.”
- ??: Nothing else is at a stage of production that makes me think it can be released this year. Not the remakes of It, The Stand or Pet Sematary. It does appear that the documentary Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary will come out in 2016.
We’re back to Stephen King Revisited in 2016 after a holiday hiatus. My historical context essay about Cycle of the Werewolf (By the Light of the Silvery Moon) was posted recently. Hope you’re reading along!
Also, the limited editions of The Dark Tower Companion have shipped. Alas, the book is out of print at the publisher, so if you didn’t grab one before, there are no more. I couldn’t be more happy about the way the book turned out. It’s a beauty!