As one of the most lucrative and prolific writers ever, Stephen King created some of best macabre myths and supernatural stories of all time. Ever since he debuted with Carrie in 1974, King has been continually raising the bar in the mystery/horror genre and he doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Many of his works have already been adapted for movies and television. Some of them, such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Shining have gone on to become iconic classics of American cinema, while others, like The Lawnmower Man and Maximum Overdrive, received much less critical acclaim but still managed to worm their way into the hearts of many as cult B-movie favorites. This is likely the reason why King has become such a permanent fixture in our culture. His stories just seem to penetrate every conceivable area of entertainment from comic books to Broadway musicals, and he always seems to have his name attached to a host of projects in development. With that being said, here’s a list of some of Stephen King movies and TV shows that are currently in the pipeline.
In 11/22/63 a schoolteacher named Jake stumbles across a portal in a diner pantry that transports him back in time to the year 1958. After experimenting with the portal a few times to confirm how it works, Jake prepares to set out on a mission to prevent the the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company secured the rights to adapt 11/22/63 in 2013, and they’ve already developed it into a mini-series starring James Franco. The 11.22.63 TV series will premiere on Presidents Day (February 15) 2016, with Hulu releasing episodes on a weekly basis.
Although King did publish a zombie anthology in Book of the Dead, many fans would consider Cell to be his most memorable zombie story. It’s set in New England and centers around a group of people who band together after a signal called ‘the pulse’ is sent to every cell phone, turning the owners into ravenous zombies who attack the uninfected on sight.
Production of the feature-length adaptation of Cell is already in full swing with Todd “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) in the director’s chair. The movie will also reunite Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack, who both starred in 1408—another movie based on one of Stephen King’s stories.
10. In the Tall Grass
Originally a short story published in Esquire magazine, In the Tall Grass begins with a brother and sister driving along the Kansas country side when they suddenly hear a cry for coming from a nearby field. From there, things start to get a little crazy in a very Stephen King way.
Not much has been announced so far for the In The Tall Grass feature film, but director Vincenzo Natali (Splice) has already adapted a screenplay.
9. Rose Madder
Surely it’s a testament to King’s skill as a writer when even his least popular novels are being turned into movies. Such is the case with Rose Madder. The story feels like less of a horror and more of a standard thriller as a wife finds herself in a violent marriage and attempts to escape her vicious husband to start a new life. But after she acquires a strange painting she makes the startling discovery that she’s able to travel within it to another world.
Palomar Pictures snagged the rights to make the book into a movie, and In America writer Naomi Sheridan is attached to pen the script.
The second of King’s novels published under the Hard Case Crime banner, Joyland takes place in 1973 and follows a college student named Devin Jones. After Devin takes a job at a North Carolina amusement park with a dark past, he finds himself caught up in the midst of grisly murder mystery and goes on the hunt for the person responsible for a number of deaths throughout the park’s history.
Before the book came out, director Tate Taylor optioned the rights from King to turn the novel into a movie. Taylor is expected to write the screenplay and produce the feature along with John Norris.
Considering King’s first Hard Case Crime story, The Colorado Kid, has already been adapted as Haven—a successful TV series that just concluded its run on Syfy, it should be interesting to see a live-action version of this creepy crime thriller.
7. Mr. Mercedes
Mr. Mercedes is King’s 2014 novel about a retired detective named Bill Hodges who is contacted by a cunning serial killer, nicknamed the Mercedes Killer, who has managed to mow down eight innocent people in a stolen Mercedes. The Mercedes Killer goes on to taunt the ex-cop with details of his past and future crimes until the strain on Hodges’ morals becomes too much and he sets out on an investigation to try and stop the mad man.
The novel is planned to be adapted by David E. Kelley (The Practice) and Jack Bender (Under the Dome). Kelley will write the pilot while Bender is set to direct. Both will also serve as executive producers on the project. King has expressed excitement about the idea: “I’ve admired Jack Bender’s work for years, both as a director on Lost and later, Under the Dome, where he really caught the suspense element. David Kelley is incredibly gifted. I’m excited to work with these amazing talents.”
6. The Long Walk
Since making teenagers suffer through horrible game-like scenarios in dystopian futures seems to be all the rage in Hollywood at the moment, now would probably be a pretty good time to make a movie out of Stephen King’s The Long Walk. The story is set in an alternate dystopian present in which Germany appears to have won World War II. Every year the totalitarian government of the U.S. forces 100 teenage boys to participate in twisted televised marathon where there can only be one winner. And yes, of course all the losers die.
Long-time King collaborator Frank Darabont picked up the rights to the novel a while ago with the intention of turning it into a low-key film. Darabont has done masterful work adapting some of King’s other less horror-filled works like The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, so we’re hoping he can carry on that tradition with The Long Walk.
5. The Breathing Method
Different Seasons is a collection of four Stephen King novellas that include Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, The Body, and Breathing Method. Since the first three have already been made into major motion pictures, with The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me (based on The Body) both getting Academy Award nominations, it’s about time someone took the reigns and finished adapting the collection.
In The Breathing Method, David is a middle-aged New York lawyer who, at the invitation of a senior partner, joins a strange gentlemen’s club where the members, in addition to playing chess and billiards, like to tell stories, some of which get into some pretty morbid territory. In one story a pregnant woman is so hell-bent on having her baby that even after being decapitated in a freak car accident, she continues with labor.
Scott Derrickson and Jason Blum optioned the rights to The Breathing Method following the success of their movie Sinister in 2012.
4. Gerald’s Game
In one of King’s darkest novels, a married couple head to a remote cabin in western Maine to engage in a little bit of seemingly harmless bondage. But things get way out of hand when the wife accidentally kills the husband. Now she’s left handcuffed to the bed in a secluded cabin with no one to rescue her and a dead body on the floor.
It was announced earlier in the year that Mike Flanagan (Oculus) had signed on to direct the movie. He’s already penned a script together with writing partner Jeff Howard so production should be getting underway soon. With the ‘lonely cabin in the woods’ setting, this movie sounds like it could be very reminiscent of Misery, which turned out to be an excellent adaptation.
3. The Jaunt
The Jaunt was first published in 1981 in Twilight Zone Magazine. It takes place in the 24th century when teleportation between worlds has become possible. The catch is that travelers need to be under anethesia, so that they’re unconscious during the trip. If you remain awake while teleporting you’ll almost certainly experience a horrific death immediately upon your arrival.
Andy Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti (Mama) are said to be attached to the project, with Andy in the director’s seat. Although no studio has officially picked up the film, there are rumors that it’s being optioned for by Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company.
This is one of King’s most creative and fun to read short stories. You’ll definitely want to make sure you read it before the movie comes out.
2. Lisey’s Story
This one really came out of left field for King. The story follows Lisey Landon, the widow of a famous novelist, who must confront the absence of her late husband by journeying into an alternate world called “Boo’ya Moon” where her husband has left her one final memento. Along the way she also has to escape a stalker who was obsessed with her husband.
This is widely considered one King’s best novels from the past decade. Not many expected a complex story about marriage, death, mental illness and family history to come from the master of horror.
During production on The Fault In Our Stars in 2013, director Josh Boone secured the rights to adapt Lisey’s Story. In the past, Boone has been very vocal about his appreciation of King’s work, so we can all rest easy knowing he’ll treat the property with the utmost of care.
1. The Dark Tower
Inspired by The Lord of the Rings and various spaghetti Westerns, King created the ultimate genre-blending ode to nerdom in his Dark Tower series. It’s basically a fantasy, sci-fi, Western, horror that’s brimming with guns, magic, monsters, robots, time travel, and otherworldly dimensions. The books also tie into a lot of King’s other works; most notably, the story’s antagonist, The Crimson King, who serves as the archetypal embodiment of evil in King’s fictional multiverse, appearing in a number of his other books including Insomnia, Black House, and Hearts in Atlantis. If Stephen King ever gets an official cinematic universe like Marvel’s, The Dark Tower will surely be its Avengers.
Ron Howard has apparently been trying to make this movie for years and, at one point, he even contacted Javier Bardem about playing the lead character Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, who must travel to the ominous Dark Tower in order to stop the Crimson King from ripping apart the fabric of reality.
As things stand, it’s looking like Russell Crowe might now be lined up to play Roland along with Idris Elba in an unspecified role. Aaron Paul has also reportedly met with Howard about taking on a role.
With so many aspects that lend themselves to a big screen spectacle, and enough source material to produce a dozen sequels, it’s amazing that The Dark Tower wasn’t made into a movie series years ago. But with the caliber of talent that’s now been attached to it, this one sounds like it’s going to be worth the wait.