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Which Stephen King Book Should Be Adapted Next?

September 9, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Doctor Sleep

It’s been a busy weekend for Stephen King fans. Warner Bros. and New Line’s It: Chapter Two wrapped its first weekend with $91 million and while it fell short of the $123 million debut of its predecessor, it still ranks as the second-best horror opening in history. 

Worldwide, It: Chapter Two made a solid $94 million for a global debut of $185 million.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with our result,” Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ president of domestic distribution, said. “Andy Muschietti and New Line, as well as the marketing team led by Blair Rich, created one of those moments where it all works. We’re proud of it.”

“The Pennywise character really speaks to [younger audiences] in a big way,” Goldstein said. “We have such a strong millennial audience, which tells us we should have a long play in front of us.”

We also got a Doctor Sleep trailer that has Danny Torrance returning to the Overlook Hotel 40 years after The Shining

King wasn’t a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation, saying, “My problem with Kubrick’s film was that it’s so cold.”

Doctor Sleep leans heavily on that movie with director Mike Flanagan recreating a number of scenes from Kubrick’s film, including Danny’s hallway encounter with the twins and the elevator gushing blood. “The reason I didn’t have any problem with this script is they took some of Kubrick’s material and warmed it up,” King added.

“Still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra, a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the ‘shine,’” according to the movie’s synopsis.

“Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.”

Any fan of King’s work knows he has a plethora of properties that are ripe for the picking. Take The Eyes of the Dragon. You might be a little confused at this one as it’s not the standard King novel. In the theme of medieval fantasy, The Eyes of the Dragon is more about magic and good vs evil on bigger scale. While this book has been rumored to be in development several times, nothing has materialized. I’m thinking this is ripe for HBO to get involved and give it the treatment it deserves. 

If you’re looking for something on a smaller scale, King’s 1994 Insomnia could translate well. Focusing on a widower who’s suffering from insomnia and starts to see things that others aren’t, it plays to a number of familiar King themes. The book itself is 800 pages so there’s plenty of meat on the bone for writers to pick from. This would be ideal for a television series, as it has plenty of layers for exploration. 

If I had to pick one King property to bring to life on the small screen, it would be his first novel (under the pseudonym Richard Bachman), Rage. While this book came out in 1977, it could very well be written today. Rage takes a look at a school shooting and does so in vivid and raw ways. King himself has interesting thoughts on the book and doubts about how it would be received. I think it would be a huge step at looking at real issues in a “King” sort of way. 

Last on my list is King’s The Long Walk. If you’re a fan of The Man in the High Castle, you’ll see why this would do well. It’s an alternate history piece that explore what happens when the Germans have all but won World War II. I believe Frank Darabont has acquired the rights but has done noting with them. Alternative history is a slice that’s ready to be explored in movies and TV so this one is a relatively safe bet. 

Which King property would you like to see on the small (or big) screen?