It’s been a couple of weeks since the last update, partly because I was away at NECON and partly because there hasn’t been a lot of news to warrant an update. Since today is the release day of the final installation of Gunslinger Born, I thought I’d catch you up on all the little things that have arisen in the interim.
King introduces three of the page-turners he selected for The Best American Short Stories 2007 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre in NY on October 10 at 7:30 pm. Each story delivers what King says he wants all stories to convey: a “sense of emotional involvement, of flipped-out amazement…like a big hot meteor screaming down from the Kansas sky.” Tickets available here.
John Mellencamp was in New York last week to attend workshop performances of The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the musical play he’s written with King.
Here’s a new description of Duma Key, due out Jan 22, 2008:
Duma Key is the engaging, fascinating story of a man who discovers an incredible talent for painting after a freak accident in which he loses an arm. He moves to a ‘new life’ in Duma Key, off Florida’s West Coast; a deserted strip, part beach, part weed-tangled, owned by a patroness of the arts whose twin sisters went missing in the 1920s.Duma Key is where out-of-season hurricanes tears lives apart and a powerful undertow lures lost and tormented souls. Here Freemantle is inspired to paint the amazing sunsets. But soon the paintings become predictive, even dangerous. Freemantle knows the only way forward is to discover what happened to the twin sisters — and what is the secret of the strange old lady who holds the key?
The story is about friendship, about the bond between a father and his daughter. And about memory, truth and art. It is also is a metaphor for the life and inspiration of a writer, and an exploration of the nature, power and influence of fiction.
If you haven’t had a chance to get to the comic shop yet, here’s a preview of Issue 7 of Gunslinger Born. The Gunslinger’s Guidebook is also supposed to come out today, but I’ve heard rumors that a binding error might delay its delivery. Lilja reports that the title of the second story arc is The Long Road Home. The first issue in that arc will be released in February 2008.
Here is an audio recording of The Mist presentation done at Comic-Con last week. Director Frank Darabont revealed that he plans to adapt The Long Walk once he has completed Fahrenheit 451. Since he doesn’t have a script for The Long Walk yet, I think it’s a safe bet we’re a couple of years away from production on that movie.
Eli Roth told Comic-Con that his adaptation of Cell is on hold. The script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski has yet to be completed and he is currently at work on a movie full of fake movie trailers. Roth hopes to enlist King’s help in a cameo role when he finally gets around to making Cell.
Ghost Hunters: Live From the Shining Hotel, which originally aired on SciFi last May, will be released on DVD on October 9, 2007 and is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Jason, Grant and the Ghost Hunters team revisit the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado for a live Halloween-night investigation.
Yet another King movie is getting the “special edition” DVD treatment. On October 2, a new Collector’s Edition DVD of Misery is coming from MGM Home Video through Fox Home Video. The disc will include a new audio commentary by director Rob Reiner and scripter William Goldman, plus additional behind-the-scenes material.
Rocky Wood warns about a new book showing up that is written by Stephen King…just not that Stephen King. The book is A Master Class in Brand Planning.
Have you been keeping up with The Dead Zone on USA? Season 6 has taken a number of interesting twists and I’m enjoying it. The new sheriff is a handful and Johnny and Sarah are finally getting to pick up where they left off over a decade earlier. Production moved to Montreal, and I’m seeing some influences from that move in the scenery and guest actors.
Lilja reports that Scribner will publish Duma Key in January 2008. In the third and final section of his interview, King talks about Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, books in cellphones and limited editions.
In addition to the graphic story we’ve been expecting, issue 1 of Gunslinger Born will contain a map of New Canaan, a preview of issue #2 and an exclusive prose short story by Robin Furth telling the tale of Roland and his friends as they learn how their worlds came into being—all accompanied with spot-illustrations by Jim Calafiore and June Chung. The 48-page issue is all content—no outside advertising.
A note regarding the signed books being offered at the Haven Foundation storefront: there is a one-per-household limit for signed books. If you bought a copy of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon or Secret Windows, you are not eligible to purchase any future signed offerings. This policy ensures that signed books will be available to more people. This restriction does not apply to the unsigned books the charity is also offering.
John Mellencamp reports that he and King are still looking for a director for their musical The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. “What we will do is take it to Chicago or the equivalent and workshop it — get the kinks out before we try to take it to Broadway,” Mellencamp told the Bloomington Herald-Times. “Elton John opened his musical in San Francisco, and it lasted all of seven days before they closed it down and decided to rework it. When we hit Broadway, we want it ready from day one.”
Trisha McFarland is over her ordeal of being lost in the woods. However, according to an interview in the Philadelphia Daily News, “I had to go into counseling right around Christmas in 2003, when I was 14,” she said. “That’s when Tom Gordon signed as a free agent with the [censored] Yankees.” According to the parody, “She used a scatological modifier commonly used by all Red Sox fans over age 6 to describe their mortal baseball enemy.” For the record, Trish can breath easier now that Gordon plays for the Phillies.
Here is Scribner’s copy for Lisey’s Story. Read at your own peril!
Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty five year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Lisey knew there was a place Scott went—a place that both terrified and healed him, could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it’s Lisey’s turn to face Scott’s demons, Lisey’s turn to go to Boo’ya Moon. What begins as a widow’s effort to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited.Perhaps King’s most personal and powerful novel ever, Lisey’s Story is about the wellspings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love.
Mick Garris talks to MovieHole about upcoming projects, including Desperation. I watched the movie last weekend and boy did Garris ever nail this one. It will be very interesting to see how it is received by the general public, because it doesn’t shy away at all from the religiousness of the novel, the debate between David Carver’s unflinching faith and Johnny Marinville’s lack thereof.
If there’s a star in the movie, it’s Tom Skerritt as Johnny. A terrific performance. The rest of the cast is decent: Charles Durning as the town drunk is another notable. Steven Weber is okay–he gets better as the movie progressess, Kelly Overton makes a good Cynthia Smith though she doesn’t match my visualization of the character, and Ron Perlman is a hoot as Collie Entragian, vacillating between lucidity and insanity. Matt Frewer is uncharacteristically restrained as David’s father. The actress who plays his mother is bitchy and strident and I wasn’t sorry when things didn’t work out so well for her.
The film doesn’t flinch from violence, either. There are shocking scenes and real gross out moments the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen on broadcast TV. I’ll have more to say about Desperation in the near future, but let me close by saying it had me glued to the screen. Commercials will abound of course, which might dilute the impact (my screener DVD had brief blank gaps to show where they will come), but hold on for a heckuva ride.
Welcome to the first installment of the web version of News from the Dead Zone. Those of you who read Cemetery Dance magazine know that I’ve been publishing a column in every issue for nearly five years now. However, because of the magazine’s publication schedule, getting timely information out has been a little problematic. With the relaunch of their web site, the good folks at CD suggested doing an online “lite” version of my column. The magazine version will continue, focusing more on in-depth analysis, review and commentary than on breaking news.
Up top, you’ll always find a handy-dandy calendar of important, upcoming dates so you can see at a glance what’s on the horizon. Then I’ll expand briefly on each item as news is announced. Then follow up in the next issue of CD magazine for more details and commentary.
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The next book due out from King is called Cell, which will be published on January 24th, 2006. Here is the description from the publisher as posted to the Barnes & Noble web site.
Civilization doesn’t end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a call on your cell phone.
What happens on the afternoon of October 1 came to be known as the Pulse, a signal sent though every operating cell phone that turns its user into something . . . well, something less than human. Savage, murderous, unthinking-and on a wanton rampage. Terrorist act? Cyber prank gone haywire? It really doesn’t matter, not to the people who avoided the technological attack. What matters to them is surviving the aftermath. Before long a band of them-“normies” is how they think of themselves-have gathered on the grounds of Gaiten Academy, where the headmaster and one remaining student have something awesome and terrifying to show them on the school’s moonlit soccer field. Clearly there can be no escape. The only option is to take them on.
Cell is classic Stephen King, a story of gory horror and white-knuckling suspense that makes the unimaginable entirely plausible and totally fascinating.
I should have a review for you in the next issue, but let me just say that this book is sure to inspire some interesting discussions, with comparisons to classic books like The Stand and darker tales like The Regulators. King describes the book as “like cheap whisky . . . very nasty and extremely satisfying.” I find it interesting that the main character in Cell is a graphic novel artist who has just sold his first major project, given the recent announcement of a graphic novel Dark Tower series (see below).
When you read the book, look out for a character named Ray Huizenga. His sister paid $25,100 in an eBay charity auction of character names benefiting the First Amendment Project. The real-life Huizenga is a fishing captain and longtime King fan, but is also the son of the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Huizenga beat out another strong bidder who was willing to take out a credit line on his house for the honor of having a character in Cell named after him.
The Dark Tower fan community was recently thrilled to learn that Marvel comics was planning to release a series of graphic novels based on untold Dark Tower stories. Originally planned for a May 2006 release, a recent memo on King’s web site revealed a new schedule for this project.
Stephen and Marvel have decided to push back the launch of the Dark Tower comic books to 2007. “Given the size of the project and all the creative talent involved, I want to give the Marvel series all the room to breathe it needs and deserves,” said Stephen. “I’ve got so much else going on in 2006-two novels coming out, Cell and Lisey’s Story, and the work with John Mellencamp on ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.’ The Marvel series is going to be a blast, and I want to have the time to enjoy it.”
The 1st issue of the yet-to-be-named first arc of the Dark Tower comic series will be shipping in February 2007. The last issue of this six-issue series will be shipping in July 2007. The first hardcover collection will be shipping in October 2007.
Though original reports billed this project as The Dark Tower 8, in truth the stories will fill in some of the gaps in Roland’s early history, in the era covering the trip to Mejis and the final battle at Jericho Hill, “new stories that delve into the life and times of the young Roland, revealing the trials and conflicts that lead to the burden of destiny he must assume as a man.”
Jae Lee is the illustrator who will bring King’s stories to life, and the colorist is Richard Isanove. The complete number of series has not been announced, but there may be as many as six different stories.
Though originally scheduled to be part of the series, Mick Garris’s adaptation of “Home Delivery” was shelved due to schedule changes for the series and his commitment to the Masters of Horror series on Showtime, which was recently renewed for a second season.
Among the cast members announced for the series are Steven Weber, Kim Delaney, William H. Macy, Henry Thomas, Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason, William Hurt and two actresses familiar from the recent ‘Salem’s Lot remake, Samantha Mathis and Rebecca Gibney. Richard Christian Matheson adapted “Battleground” and Lawrence M. Cohen (Carrie) penned “The End of the Whole Mess.” The show will run one episode per week during the summer months of 2006 starting with “Umney’s Last Case”—one of my favorite short stories—which will reportedly run without commercials. Filming is currently taking place in and around Sydney, Australia. An upcoming issue of Fangoria will feature a visit to the set.
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King and his collaborator John Mellencamp got together in November to continue their work on a musical production about death and reconciliation called “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” A member of The Dark Tower dot Net forum helped crew the latest reading. A self-admitted skeptic when he first heard about this project, he reported that the music is fantastic, the cast was great and, though there is still work to be done, he says it will be a worthwhile endeavor.
Mellencamp reports that the guys who did “Spamalot” are now involved, which may make the final stages of development “less hectic.” King’s story involves two brothers who dislike each other immensely. Their father takes them to their family vacation cabin, where, a generation before them, the father’s two older brothers killed each other in a similar sibling rivalry.
“There’s a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house,” Mellencamp told Billboard. “The older (dead) brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That’s all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung.”
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CD’s very own Rich Chizmar co-scripted an adaptation of From a Buick 8 that is currently attached to George Romero as director, who also has the film rights to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. However, recent reports hint that Romero may tackle another zombie feature before working on either of these King adaptations.
Galleys of Stephen King: Uncollected and Unpublished by Rocky Wood (The Complete Guide to the Works of Stephen King) are in distribution, so the book can’t be far behind. I’ve started perusing my copy and am impressed by the amount of information and detail contained in this volume. In addition to containing the first appearances of some very rare King works (a poem, and a chapter from the early novel Sword in the Darkness), the book highlights the various appearances of rare King stories and indicates the ones that were substantially revised for later publication. Makes me want to go back to some of the earlier appearances to refresh my memory of what the stories were like in their original incarnations.
A new King project called The Secretary of Dreams was announced recently. Stay tuned to the CD web page for more details very shortly. This one is very cool!