Get ready, Stephen King fans. Over the past few years, the influx in content being produced solely for streaming services has made it easier for authors and creators alike to see their work come to life – and no author has ever been as prolific in seeing their work adapted for the screen as the King of Horror himself.
Since King published his first novel Carrie in 1974, there have been close to 100 feature film and television adaptations of his many novels, short stories, and novellas – and if the success of recent films and series’ such as It, It: Chapter Two, Pet Sematary, Castle Rock, and The Outsider has taught us anything – it’s that there is a definite demand for them.
While there are dozens of Stephen King adaptations currently in development, here is what we know about a handful of them – some of which are remakes of films we’re familiar with, and some of which is completely untapped material – but all of which are based upon the work of one of the greatest horror writers of the last 50 years.
Lisey’s Story – Limited Series
Based on Stephen King’s 2006 novel of the same name, Lisey’s Story is finally getting its very own small screen adaptation, premiering exclusively on Apple TV+ this June. The 8-episode limited series is said to bring the same elements of romance and psychological horror as the original Bram Stoker Award winning novel. King has stated that Lisey’s Story is his favorite of all the novels he’s written, and even scripted the television adaptation himself.
Lisey’s Story follows Lisey Landon, the widow of bestselling author Scott Landon, as she recalls haunted memories from both her life, and her late husband’s life. When speaking about the new series, King said, “I wanted to say something about marriage, long marriage, and about celebrity, and about the side of lives that are public and the side of lives that are private – and the door between those two worlds.”
The series is produced by J.J. Abrams, and features a stellar cast including Clive Owen, Joan Allen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sung Kang, Dane DeHaan, and Ron Cephas Jones. Julianne Moore will portray the titular Lisey.
Outside of a few brief glimpses, a full look at the upcoming series has not been revealed, but don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long! Lisey’s Story will premiere on Apple TV+ on June 4, and conclude its 8-episode run on July 16.
Firestarter – Movie
Firestarter is a novel published by King in 1980, and later adapted into a feature film in 1984. Both follow husband and wife Andy and Vicky McGee, as they race to protect their pyrokinetic daughter Charlie from a dangerous organization known as The Shop. The original film starred David Keith, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, and Drew Barrymore in one of her earliest performances.
At the 2017 Overlook Film Festival, it was announced by Universal, in association with Blumhouse, that a Firestarter reboot was in the works, with Akiva Goldsman set to direct. Goldsman, who previously produced Stephen King adaptations The Dark Tower and Doctor Sleep, has since departed from the project.
In December of 2019, it was announced that director Keith Thomas would step in to handle the Firestarter remake. Thomas recently established himself within the horror genre with his movie The Vigil, an incredibly creepy film that premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, and was met with positive reviews.
So far, few details have been revealed about the Firestarter remake, but what we do know is that Zac Efron (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) and Michael Greyeyes (True Detective) have been cast as Andy McGee and John Rainbird, respectively. In a recent tweet, Stephen King sent his love to the cast and crew as they prep to begin filming in Hamilton, Ontario. The movie will presumably be released sometime in 2022.
Overlook – Series
While not technically an adaptation of one of King’s novels, this HBO Max series produced by J.J. Abrams will return to the screen the iconic hotel from King’s 1977 horror classic, The Shining.
The Overlook Hotel famously appeared on screen for the first time in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film version of The Shining. It was brought to life again in 1997 for a made-for-TV miniseries, before a triumphant and final time in 2019’s Doctor Sleep, a direct sequel to Kubrick’s original vision. Since then, the fictional hotel has sat idly waiting to provide more scares.
The new series was announced in April of 2020, after HBO Max made a three-series deal with Abrams and his production company, Bad Robot. A 1970’s crime drama titled Duster, and a live action adaptation of DC’s Justice League Dark, are reportedly the other two projects currently being developed by the Lost producer.
While more specific plot details are still under wraps, Overlook will serve as a prequel to Stephen King’s The Shining, and is said to feature several “iconic characters” from King’s novel. Whether that means fans will get to see a younger version of the Torrance family, or some of the hotel’s other ghostly past employees, remains to be seen.
The Dark Half – Movie
Over the years, many acclaimed and cult-horror directors have adapted the various novels of Stephen King. Stanley Kubrick directed The Shining, John Carpenter directed Christine, David Cronenberg, The Dead Zone. In 1993, George A. Romero, the director of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Creepshow, took a stab at adapting King’s 1989 novel The Dark Half. However, the film never lived up to the status of Romero’s other works.
In 2019, it was announced that MGM, with director Alex Ross Perry, would handle a contemporary adaptation of King’s novel. The story follows successful author Thad Beaumont, who has written under the pseudonym George Stark for a number of years. When Thad decides to kill off his alter ego, Stark takes on a life of his own, and embarks on a vengeful murder spree. Alex Ross Perry is also set to helm the upcoming feature film Rest Stop, based on King’s short story of the same name.
Chapelwaite – Series
Based on King’s short story Jerusalem’s Lot (not to be mistaken with Salem’s Lot), Chapelwaite is an upcoming 10-episode series starring Adrian Brody as Captain Charles Boone, who relocates with his children to the dreary little town of Preacher’s Corners after his wife dies at sea, only to discover a dark family history there. Chapelwaite is said to be set in 1850’s Maine, and will premiere on Epix.
Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek) will star alongside Brody as Rebecca Morgan, a young writer returning home to Preacher’s Corners after college. The horror series began production in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in July of 2020, so a release date is expected to be announced soon.
From a Buick 8 – Movie
A feature film adaptation of King’s novel about a 1953 Buick Roadmaster that serves as a gateway to another dimension has been in talks since 2005, when it was announced that George A. Romero would return to helm the film. In 2007, Tobe Hooper, best known for directing horror classics The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist, replaced Romero. However, the project hit roadblock after roadblock, and never managed to obtain financing.
A big screen adaptation of From a Buick 8 is reportedly still in development, this time from director Jim Mickle, with Thomas Jane poised to star. Although the project still appears to be in a standstill, as no new news has surfaced since August 2020. Will we ever get to see the vintage Roadmaster wreak havoc on Western Pennsylvania?
The Talisman – Series
The Talisman is a novel written by Stephen King and Peter Straub in 1984, about a twelve year-old boy named Jack Sawyer who ventures to a strange world inhabited by werewolves and gunslingers in order to save his dying mother. In 2001, King and Straub published a sequel to The Talisman entitled Black House. Now a third novel is said to be on its way, concluding the decades-spanning trilogy.
The Talisman is one King novel that fans have wanted to see adapted for some time. With a rich fantasy world to explore, and two (soon to be three) novels worth of material, The Talisman is a piece of literature that begs to be seen on screen. Well, after years of speculating, it’s finally happening. Recently it was announced that The Talisman will be adapted as a Netflix original series, with Amblin Partners and Stranger Things creators The Duffer Brothers developing. Stranger Things producer Curtis Gwinn will serve as showrunner.
Salem’s Lot – Movie
Salem’s Lot is the second novel ever to be published by Stephen King. Hitting shelves in 1975, Salem’s Lot would later go on to be adapted in 1979 into a two-part TV miniseries directed by Tobe Hooper. The story follows Ben Mears, who returns to the sleepy town of Jerusalem’s Lot after several years, only to discover that the residents are being turned into vampires. Although Hooper’s series was a slight departure from the original source material, it still received plenty of acclaim, and King’s novel remains a highly regarded work of supernatural horror.
In 2019, New Line Cinema confirmed that they would develop a new feature film adaptation of ‘Salem’s Lot, with Annabelle Comes Home director Gary Dauberman. Dauberman previously co-wrote both It, and It: Chapter Two, and is a frequent collaborator with James Wan, creator of The Conjuring film series. Wan will serve as producer on Dauberman’s ‘Salem’s Lot remake, and will even direct a future adaptation of Stephen King’s 1987 novel The Tommyknockers. Details surrounding The Tommyknockers and ‘Salem’s Lot remakes are still to be announced.