Stephen King just might be one of the busiest people in Hollywood, despite living more than 3,000 miles away in Bangor, Maine.
The author’s IMDb Pro page lists 42 titles in development, 11 in production, and 232 previous titles based on his works. While a good chunk of those titles are small, amateur films that will be seen by very few people, there are still plenty of high-profile King adaptations available to the public or forthcoming. They include “Castle Rock,” a new series from Hulu that debuted its first three episodes on the streaming platform Wednesday.
In honor of the show’s release, here are five projects with scheduled release dates based on the Maine horror master’s many works.
“Castle Rock” (TV series)
The big trend in Hollywood is finding a "universe" in which to build projects, i.e., the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the D.C. Extended Universe. "Castle Rock" may represent a smaller-scale version of that trend, as the Hulu series is set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, which serves as the setting for more than a dozen King stories, and will be "a first-of-its-kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canons," according to the streaming company. Early critical response has been mixed, but many critics agree that the number of allusions to previous King works will keep diehard fans of the author entertained. The first three episodes debuted on Hulu Wednesday, with more to come soon.
“Mr. Mercedes” (TV series)
Based on the 2014 novel of the same name, this series helmed by Maine native and Boston aficionado David E. Kelley (“Boston Public,” “Boston Legal”) debuted on Audience Network in 2017. The show concerns a detective (Brendan Gleeson, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) haunted by an unsolved mass murder perpetrated by a man at the wheel of a stolen Mercedes. The show will be back for season two on Aug. 22.
The single biggest factor pushing studios to greenlight more King adaptations is the runaway success of 2017’s “It” remake, which took in more than $700 million worldwide. While a “Pet Semetary” remake has been in the works since 2010, Paramount kicked the project into high gear shortly after “It” hit theaters, hiring directing duo Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (“Starry Eyes”) and casting Jason Clarke (“Chappaquiddick”) and John Lithgow (“3rd Rock From the Sun”) in leading roles. Based on the 1983 King novel of the same name, “Pet Semetary” is slated for an April 5, 2019 release.
“It: Chapter Two”
Even before “It” was successful, it was seen as a two-film project, with “It: Chapter Two” set to chronicle the portion of King’s 1986 novel that reunites the adult versions of the children portrayed in “It” to prevent Pennywise from tormenting a new generation of kids. Big names like Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”), and James McAvoy (“X-Men: First Class”) will star as the grown-up children, while Bill Skarsgard will return as the demonic clown Pennywise. The film is currently on schedule for a Sept. 6, 2019 release.
It’s not surprising that “Doctor Sleep,” King’s 2013 novel, is getting a fast-track film adaptation from Warner Bros. After all, it’s the sequel to “The Shining,” one of the most beloved King film adaptations of all time. The novel follows a troubled adult version of Danny Torrance, the young boy in “The Shining” who narrowly survives his father Jack’s murderous rampage at the Overlook Hotel. Danny will be played by Ewan McGregor (“Moulin Rouge!”), while Rebecca Ferguson (“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation)” will play Rose the Hat, the leader of a shadowy group of “quasi-immortals” who share Danny’s psychic “shining” abilities. As of now, “Doctor Sleep” is set for a Jan. 4, 2020 release.
Kevin Slane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.