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For decades, prolific author Stephen King has provided a wealth of material for film and television studios hungry for original projects. While some of his decidedly tamer stories have been adapted into beloved classics like Under the Dome, Stand by Me, and The Shawshank Redemption, he remains one of the world’s foremost purveyor of supernatural terror on the big and small screen, and thanks in part to the runaway blockbuster success of films like 2017’s It and it’s 2019 sequel as well as the TV fandom over shows like HBO’s The Outsider, Hulu’s Castle Rock, and CBS All Access’ star-studded miniseries adaptation of The Stand (Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg/The Dark Man pictured above), it looks like we’re in for another wave of King-mania in the coming years.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a handy list of every movie and TV series based on a Stephen King story or novel that’s either in the works or already scheduled to premiere in the near future. Read on for details on every upcoming and new Stephen King movie and TV adaptation.
What We Know: In 2018, A Quiet Place writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods were tapped to write 20th Century Fox’s film adaptation of King’s 1973 short story (it first appeared in Cavalier magazine but was then incorporated into his 1978 anthology collection, Night Shift. But, between the coronavirus pandemic’s shutdown of Hollywood and Disney’s acquisition of various Fox properties, delays became inevitable. However, Woods told ComicBook.com in October 2020 that “we’ve got a script that we’re super excited about” and that “I think development is kind of growing and changing and evolving, but it’s been … I don’t know. It was a really fun project.”
As if the title didn’t give a lot of the plot away, the story follows a man who recently lost his children — to a monster lurking in a closet.
What We Know: Based on King’s short story “Jerusalem’s Lot” from his 1978 Night Shift collection, this upcoming Epix drama series stars Schitt’s Creek’s Emily Hampshire and Oscar winner Adrien Brody. Set in the 1850s, it follows his character, a recently widowed father of three who relocates his family to his small, sleepy town in Maine. However, doing so means that he will have to confront the terrors and secrets that have haunted his family for generations. She plays an author on assignment who has writer’s block, a theme familiar to those who know King’s work.
What We Know: King has long been able to mine details of his own life for source material and his The Dark Half is no exception. Published in 1989 after it was revealed that he had written under the pen name Richard Bachman, this horror story imagines what happens if a writer’s pseudonym came to life and also happened to be blood-thirsty. A 1993 film version from director George A. Romero and starring Timothy Hutton fell flat and has a 56% Tomatometer score. A new film adaptation from director Alex Ross Perry was announced in 2019. No casting or premiere date has been announced.
News broke a few months before this announcement that Perry was also attached to write and direct a film adaptation of King’s 2003 short story Rest Stop. That story is a cat-and-mouse thriller involving two women.
What We Know: Not all of the Stephen King adaptations being produced are from the horror genre. This story centers on a heated rivalry between a mechanic and a mob boss who engage in a battle of wills over who can produce the more impressive Fourth of July fireworks display. Drunken Fireworks is based on a short story of the same name from a collection of fiction titled The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. It includes the narrative poem “The Bone Church,” which has been optioned for a TV series.
Deadline reported in June of 2016 that James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions and Rubicon Entertainment were planning on adapting the story into a film with Franco on board to star and potentially direct (He also starred in Hulu’s adaptation of the King-based Kennedy-centric miniseries 11.22.63). The script was to be written by Matt Rager, who has written several Franco-directed films already. Outside of that, there hasn’t been any recorded movement since.
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What We Know: In 1984, a post-E.T. Drew Barrymore starred in an adaptation of King’s 1980 novel Firestarter, which told the story of a young girl named Charlie born to psychic parents who possesses the ability to control fire with her mind. Like E.T., Charlie becomes the target of shady government types who seek to weaponize her unique talent, and of course, things eventually spiral out of control.
Perhaps partially inspired by the recent popularity of Stranger Things, Universal and horror super-producer Blumhouse announced that they would be bringing a new adaptation of the novel to the big screen with Scott Teems, who worked on the upcoming Halloween sequel Halloween Kills for them, penning the script. In December 2019, it was announced that The Vigil’s Keith Thomas would direct. In 2020, Zac Efron joined the cast.
What We Know: In 2019, The Expanse’s Thomas Jane and his producing partner Courtney Lauren Penn acquired the long-idling rights to King’s best-selling 2002 novel. Back in 2018, Deadline reported that adaptation rights had been optioned by Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment, which has produced films like Machete, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Other attempts had George Romero and then Tobe Hooper attached to direct.
The novel centers on a 1953 Buick Roadmaster, which has been locked away in a Pennsylvania State Police storage shed for decades until it draws the attention of the surviving son of a state trooper who was killed en route to a call involving the same Buick. This, of course, isn’t the first “evil vintage car” story written by King that has been made into a movie; one of the earliest adaptations of his work was John Carpenter’s Christine in 1983, which centered on a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury.
(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)
What We Know: Remember that Anthony Hopkins movie from 2001 called Hearts in Atlantis? You know, the one that features a young Anton Yelchin and centers on Hopkins’ mysterious character who has telepathic and telekinetic powers? Well, that film was actually based on two of the stories collected in the book of the same title (although, neither of which were the one that provided the book’s title). Thanks to a couple of filmmakers who are Stephen King fans, however, we may actually one day get a proper Hearts in Atlantis movie.
In September of 2016, Variety announced that director Johannes Roberts and his frequent writing partner Ernest Riera planned to adapt the short story “Hearts in Atlantis” as a new coming-of-age film called simply Hearts. It would be set in 1966 and focus on the experiences of a group of University of Maine students who become addicted to the card game Hearts and discover that the rest of their lives are falling apart. Roberts and Riera previously brought us The Other Side of the Door and 47 Meters Down, but this is expected to be more in line with King adaptations like Stand By Me or The Shawshank Redemption.
What We Know: King’s 2019 novel was barely off the printing presses before a TV adaptation was announced. Writer David E. Kelley and director Jack Bender, who already had success partnering on adapting King’s Bill Hodges Trilogy of books into the Audience Network series Mr. Mercedes, are developing this book as a limited series.
The story follows a young boy with special powers who is kidnapped and sent to live in the titular institute, where a staff perform various experiments on him and other students. He escapes and a small-town sheriff is on the case. And if you think this sounds like Stranger Things, a show that has long referenced King’s early work, you are not alone.
“I like [Stranger Things] a lot, but it does owe something to It,” King told Rolling Stone when The Institute was released. “That’s another book about kids who are weak and helpless by themselves — but together can make something that is very strong.”
A network for the miniseries has not been named.
What We Know: This one’s been sitting in development longer than any of the others, so it’s anyone’s guess how long it’ll be before it makes its way to the big screen, even with the people reportedly involved with it — namely director Andy Muschietti, who of course has already had two Stephen King hits with a little story about a shapeshifting clown.
Nevertheless, as of 2019, Muschietti was still attached to The Jaunt, which is based on a sci-fi short story set in the 24th century that is about an interplanetary teleportation journey gone wrong. Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment optioned the 1981 story back in March of 2015 with Muschietti on board. In 2019, Muschietti told Consequence of Sound that he was still very much involved in this project, saying that “we finally have a writer that can do it” and that “it’s tough to crack because it’s such a great short story, and then you have to expand it into a great film narrative. It took awhile, but now I think we got it. I don’t want to tell too much.”
Muschietti also confirmed in that interview that he is involved in an adaptation of the novel Roadwork, which King published in 1981 under his Richard Bachman pseudonym. ZeroZeroZero’s Pablo Trapero would direct.
“Roadwork is definitely a more human drama,” Muschietti told the publication. “I always loved it. It’s not one of his biggest hits, but it always resonated and I can’t explain why.
What We Know: King’s bounty of material means that there is something for almost every TV network, as evident by an adaptation of his 2013 novel Joyland for Freeform. The network famous for shows like Pretty Little Liars and Grown-ish is developing this story that focuses on another young adult. Deadline reported in 2018 that the plot would focus on “a college student who takes a summer job at an amusement park in a North Carolina tourist town, confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child and the way both will change his life forever.” Chris Peña (Jane the Virgin) and Cyrus Nowrasteh (The Stoning of Soraya M.) were writing the pilot.
What We Know: Another flashy project for new streaming service Apple TV+, this adaptation of the 2006 King novel of the same name stars Julianne Moore, Clive Owen and Joan Allen and includes producers like J. J. Abrams. Oh, and King himself is writing all eight episodes of the drama and will also executive produce (this isn’t the first time this has happened; King’s screenwriting credits also include the 1989 film adaptation of his Pet Sematary and the 1994 TV miniseries adaptation of The Stand. He also wrote the final episode of CBS All Access version of The Stand).
In 2017, King told Variety that Lisey’s is his favorite of his material and that he’d love to see a TV adaptation “especially now that there’s a kind of openness on the streaming services on TV and even the cable networks” and that “it’s tough to take a book that is fully textured and has all the wheels turning and do it in two hours and 10 minutes.”
However, Lisey’s director Pablo Larraín said in June 2020 that the production had to shut down in March of that year due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time of the interview, Larrain said “I don’t have clarity” as to when they would be able to finish the project. Moore stars as the titular Lisey Landon, the widow of an extremely successful novelist (Owen). It tells a version of events of her dead husband’s life as she remembers them and what her life is like now.
What We Know: One of the other four novels that King published under the pen name, Richard Bachman, this story takes place in a dystopian future America, where a ruthless dictator holds an annual contest in which 100 teenage boys are randomly selected to participate in the titular endurance contest until only one remains alive.
In 2007, Frank Darabont, who had already made The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile and had just completed The Mist, acquired the film rights to The Long Walk, as it was a bit of a passion project for him. Unfortunately, those rights lapsed before he ever got the chance to make the film, and in April of 2018, New Line Cinema (who, of course, brought us It) nabbed them and signed James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man, Independence Day: Resurgence) to write the script and produce. In 2019, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’s André Øvredal was brought on as director.
In a 2020 interview with Coming Soon, Øvredal assured fans that even though the coronavirus pandemic that shut down Hollywood “is just wrecking everything,” this project is still “alive and well and moving along.”
What We Know: In 2019, Deadline broke the story that a big-screen adaptation of Mile 81 was in the works with Alistair Legrand set to direct and co-write with Luke Harvis (the duo also collaborated on 2015’s The Diabolical’s). Since then, not much more is known.
This 2011 King novella relies on some of the author’s favorite topics, such as teens running amok, a small town in Maine and enemies on four wheels.
It is not to be confused with his 2008 novella, N. That one, which is also set in Maine and also deals with teens avoiding certain death — but has eight creepy stones harboring ancient evil instead of anything really to do with a car — is reportedly being developed as a TV series by Gaumont TV. Deadline reported in 2017 that the project would be called 8.
(Photo by ©Warner Brothers)
What We Know: You know what they say: All work and no play makes a streaming service … Anyway, new streaming platform HBO Max has given a series order to Overlook. Produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, the show is inspired by — and will feature — characters from King’s 1977 thriller The Shining and plans to “explore the untold, terrifying stories of the most famous haunted hotel in American fiction.” Bad Robot also produced Hulu’s Castle Rock, which was also based on King’s characters and locations.
What We Know: In July of 2020, it was announced that The CW was developing Revelations, a series based on the King short story The Revelations of ’Becka Paulson. According to Variety, the one-hour drama would follow a “Pollyanna-ish” young woman who, after accidentally shooting herself in the brain with a nail gun, “is recruited by an over-it Jesus to be his ‘chosen one’ in stopping the apocalypse.” Last Man Standing’s Maise Culver is the writer and co-executive producer.
(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
What We Know: Although Josh Boone, a King obsessive and co-creator of 2020’s The Stand miniseries, took a crack at adapting Revival, it’s Doctor Sleep’s Mike Flanagan who is bringing the movie to fruition. He said in a 2020 interview that the story is “relentlessly dark and cynical and I’m enjoying the hell out of that.” The story centers on a minister whose wife and son are killed in a car accident and then begins to experiment with “secret electricity” — and the young man who reconnects with the preacher as a heroine-addicted adult and who becomes his new assistant, of sorts.
What We Know: AMC is developing a television adaptation of Sleeping Beauties, the 2017 best-seller that King wrote with his son Owen. According to the logline, which was released during the winter 2020 Television Critics Association press tour, the project is set “in a small Appalachian town” where “there’s a strange mystical occurrence that causes all the women to fall asleep, leaving the men to try and rescue them. But do the women want to be rescued?”
No premiere date or casting has been announced. The project was first announced in April of 2019 — a few months before AMC premiered NOS4A2, a horror series based on a book written by King’s other son, Joe Hill.
What We Know: After the success of the It remake in 2017, Variety reported that Sean Carter (Keep Watching) would be directing an adaptation of this King short story. Published in Cavalier magazine in 1972 and later part of King’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes anthology, this piece follows an elementary school teacher who begins to notice that her students have some unique traits (think texture showing up below their skin and a conspiratorial way that they play at recess). Then mysterious deaths start happening in her small town.
What We Know: In 1984, Stephen King co-wrote a book called The Talisman with horror novelist Peter Straub. It’s about a 12-year-old boy who possesses the ability to move seamlessly between our world and a parallel world known as the Territories. Steven Spielberg actually bought the rights to the book in 1982 — even before it was published — because he liked the story so much. He held onto those rights for decades, revealing in an Entertainment Weekly interview in 2018 that he was “hoping to get this movie made in the next couple of years.”
As it happens, Spielberg’s own Amblin Entertainment signed Josh Boone to write the screenplay in October of 2017. In 2019, it was reported that The Handmaid’s Tale’s Mike Barker would direct and that Chris Sparling was writing the script.
The film production may see competition from TV. The Hollywood Reporter noted in 2021 that Stranger Things’ Curtis Gwinn was showrunning and executive producing a Netflix series based on the story and that Spielberg was producing along with Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer and others.
What We Know: Deadline reported in May 2020 that streaming service HBO Max was in early development on a feature adaptation of the novella from King and son, Jon Hill. The plot, fittingly, follows a father-and-son led biker gang who are terrorized by a big-rig truck on a deserted section of the American desert. Raising Dion’s Leigh Dana Jackson is writing the screenplay and producers include David S. Goyer and Keith Levine.
(Photo by ABC)
What We Know: In March of 2018, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that a new adaptation of the 1987 novel The Tommyknockers was in the works, with the Conjuring universe’s James Wan and It producer Roy Lee, on board to produce it. Some might recall that there was a 1993 ABC miniseries adaptation of the book, which focuses on the discovery of an alien spacecraft in a small town and its dangerous, otherworldly influence over the people who live there. As it happens, Wan and Lee are also teaming up with producer Larry Sanitsky, who produced that 1993 miniseries.
Just about a month after that initial announcement, Universal actually won a fierce bidding war to distribute the film, and that August, Jeremy Slater (writer The Lazarus Effect, 2015’s Fantastic Four, and Death Note) signed on to adapt the novel. Outside of these developments, no new details have emerged.
Wan is also attached to produce a new film adaptation of King’s Salem’s Lot. Gary Dauberman, who wrote the It movies, would write and direct. The vampire novel has already seen a couple a other adaptations.
Lee, along with Chris Romero and others, is also reportedly producing an adaptation of King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. In November 2020, it was announced that Lynne Ramsay would direct from a script she co-wrote with Christy Hall. Published in 1999, the plot follows a nine-year-old who gets lost on the Appalachian Trail.