Every Stephen King Movie and TV Series in Development

The Lists Den Of Geek
4/4/2016 at 10:45AM

Everything you need to know about upcoming Stephen King movies and TV shows!

It's no accident that horror master Stephen King is one of the most heavily-adapted writers in history. From horror grossouts to intense psychological thrillers and far-out sci-fi romps, there's a King movie or TV show for everyone.

It certainly helps that King is also one of the most prolific and successful writers working today. Since 1974, with the publication of Carrie, his debut novel about a troubled girl with telekinetic powers, King has been raising the bar of weird fiction. He certainly has some of the best human villains and supernatural villains of all-time. The man has been creating monsters for as long as we can remember (we're a pretty young staff, ehem), and he shows no sign of slowing down. 

Perhaps it's his B-movie sensitivity that really makes his ghoulies shine, but its really about how the prose flows in his novels and countless short stories -- they aren't your normal fast-paced reads for the most part. King takes his time building tension and suspense. Like a boy slowly turning the crank on a jack-on-the-box, King masterfully works his way to the final moment of horror. No one has painted a page with more terror than the master of pop horror himself. 

That's why he's so deeply rooted in our culture, and has managed to infiltrate every sector of entertainment in the world. From e-books to comics to musicals, King has conquered them all. Besides books, King's work has seen MAJOR success in movies and TV. The Shawshank Redemption is an instant classic of mystery and drama, while Carrie continues to scare us all half to death. 

And he's not done yet.

Here's a list of all the upcoming movies and TV shows adapted from the work of Stephen King:

Ayana

This is one of King's "miracle" tales -- the most famous of which is The Green Mile. A man is dying of pancreatic cancer until he meets a mysterious blind little girl named Ayana. She kisses the dying man's cheek and...you can pretty much guess what happens next.

NBC wants to turn this into a TV show. Chris Sparling (Buried) is writing the pilot. Ben Haber (Across the Universe) is set to produce, while Jordan Kerner (Less Than Zero) will executive produce. No director or cast have been announced at this time.

The Breathing Method

This is Stephen King showing off his literary chops as well as the campfire storytelling voice he's mastered: a pregnant woman is so determined to have her baby that even after being decapitated in a freak car accident, she continues to push...but that's not even the most mysterious part. More intriguing is the weird gentlemen's club that gets together to tell this story and others beside a fire. The club appears in several stories, including "The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands."

You get a sense of King's shared universe in these stories, and this could easily be the jumping off point for some kind of anthology film/series. For now, Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity) is producing a feature film, but has yet to set it up at Universal. Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange) is set to direct.

Of course, now that Derrickson has been chosen to direct Doctor Strange, this film will most likely go on the back burner...

RELATED ARTICLE: The 10 Greatest Supernatural Stephen King Villains

Cell

This is King's big zombie story. He's written a couple of other short stories, including the great "Home Delivery" from Nightmares & Dreamscapes, but this is the one he will be remembered for. The zombies in Cell aren't your typical brain-eating monsters. Instead, it's a strange cell phone signal from an unknown source that turns most of humanity into a zombie hive mind, whose goal is to turn the remaining humans into zombies. Sure, it's all chaos at first, but the monsters begin to organize in a weird way, kind of like in George A. Romero's Land of the Dead.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Importance of Stephen King's Cell Movie

Eli Roth (Hostel) talked about adapting this novel into a feature film a few years back, but that didn't happen. Instead, it's currently eyeing a 2016 release. It stars John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman, and Owen Teague. The film was directed by Todd "Kip" Williams (Paranormal Activity 2), with King and Adam Alleca (Last House on the Left remake) writing the screenplay. King decided to change the original ending of the novel for the film, so take that as you will.

Saban Films has acquired the U.S. distribution rights for the film, so it might finally see the light of day sometime soon.

Children of the Corn

This short story turned movie doesn't really need an introduction. You can read the story in Night Shift or watch the original 1984 film if you want to know what the fuss is all about. "Children of the Corn" is a horror classic about a murderous cult of corn-worshipping children. That's it. Just check it. Although there have been nine films already, Warner Bros. wants to make another. Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2) will reportedly direct with Jon Bokenkamp (The Blacklist) writing the script.

Creepshow 4

Who remembers the guy who is being hunted down by roaches? Or that guy who is buried alive by his nemesis? Remember when Stephen King was turned into a plant monster from outer space? If so, then you must be one of the horror buffs who watched the original Creepshow, a collaboration between King and George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead) that soon proved to be a match made in heaven.

An homage to classic EC and DC horror comics, Romero and King created a horror anthology movie masterpiece that still stands as one of the best in the genre. The rumor is Warner Bros. is interested in making another sequel or a possible remake. It would be interesting to see them tap someone like Ti West (V/H/S) to direct.

The Dark Tower

It is official: Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) will direct and co-write the film adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower for Sony Pictures, according to Deadline. Fellow Danish filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen will help rewrite the script, which was originally penned by Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner.

Idris Elba will star as Roland Deschain. He'll be accompanied by Matthew McConaughey, who is set to play Randall Flagg. 

Sony Pictures and Media Rights Capital will produce the film. The plan is to make a series of movies based on the books, with the possibility of also adapting Roland's early adventures into a TV show. The movie will be the first in a series of Dark Tower films. The first installment of The Dark Tower will adapt book one, The Gunslinger.

Everything You Need to Know About The Dark Tower

If there was a Stephen King cinematic universe, The Dark Tower would undoubtedly be its Avengers. The series of books ties most of King's book together in a very large web of monsters, magic, and alternate timelines. Inspired by The Lord of the Rings trilogy and spaghetti westerns, King created the anthem of all geekdom. The books are full of magic, gunslingers, sorcerors, battles on horseback, time-travel portals, evil A.I., vampires, demons, werewolves, and giant parasite-infested robotic bears. Why haven't they made a movie already?

Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) has been trying to make this movie for years. At one point, he even tapped Javier Bardem for the lead role of Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, who must travel to the eponymous Dark Tower in order to stop the Crimson King from tearing fabric of reality apart.

RELATED ARTICLE: A Reading Guide to the Stephen King Universe

Doctor Sleep

Another Stephen King project has taken a step forward on its journey to the screen, according to The Tracking Board, with the news that Akiva Goldsman is going to adapt Doctor Sleep.

Doctor Sleep is King’s sequel to The Shining, taking place many years after the original events at the Overlook Hotel and starring an adult Danny Torrance. Goldsman, who’s penned projects as wildly different as Batman & Robin and A Beautiful Mind (the latter winning him an Oscar) is taking on screenwriting duties for Doctor Sleep.

Stephen King is executive producer on the movie, although there’s no word of a director just yet. We will, of course, keep you posted as we hear more…

Firestarter

This isn't the first time a girl discovers she has crazy powers in a King novel nor would this be the first Firestarter film -- the original starred little Drew Barrymore in 1984. The story is about a father and daughter with unnatural powers, which were brought upon by experiments performed on them by a secret government organization called The Shop. Basically, The Shop want to capture the duo to exploit their powers and experiment on them some more.

The Shop turn up in several of King's works, which could make it another vital part of a Stephen King cinematic universe. They would make pretty great villains. Maybe they could be the same guys from that gentlemen's club in "The Breathing Method."

Universal and the Dino De Laurentiis Co. will produce a new adaptation of Firestarter. Mark L. Smith (Vacancy) will write the screenplay. The idea is to give the film more edge than the original in an attempt to create a potential franchise. We wouldn't mind a Stephen King movie franchise about a secret organization that investigates the paranormal and does evil shit with it.

Gerald's Game

Husband and wife like to get kinky in bed. They especially like bondage. So they go on vacation to a secluded cabin in western Maine to get their extra freak on. Husband handcuffs wife to bed post. The game gets a little out of hand. Wife defends herself and accidentally kills husband. Now wife is all alone in cabin in the woods with no one to help her and a dead husband on the floor.

Things get worse. A lot of weird visions (and a crazy villain called the Space Cowboy) later, you've read one of King's darkest books.

With a striking sexual appetite, the book makes you uncomfortable very quickly. And now we'll be able to watch it unfold on the big screen, too. Mike Flanagan (Oculus) is at the helm of this adaptation, co-writing the script with Jeff Howard (Oculus). Intrepid Pictures will produce. The film was supposed to release sometime in 2015, but there hasn't been any word on the film since.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Stephen King Novels That Should be TV Shows

Grand Central

Based on the short story "The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates," this TV show would tell the story of a widow who receives a call from her deceased husband, who predicts two tragedies that will alter her life forever. She'll probably spend most of the TV show preventing catastrophes, thanks to her husband's ridiculous disregard for her phone bill. The TV show comes from the former Dead Zone writing team Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn, and is in development at ABC for a potential summer straight-to-series order. 

In the Tall Grass

Stephen King and Joe Hill's "In the Tall Grass," a short story originally published in Esquire and then released as an ebook, is getting the movie treatment from Splice director Vincenzo Natali. The director revealed the news in an interview with Screen Daily

The story begins with a brother and sister driving down the Kansas country side when they suddenly hear a boy screaming for help in a field. Then, as you'd expect from this father-son duo, all hell breaks loose...

Here's what Natali had to say about the story in the interview:

Who would think that grass could be frightening. Trust Stephen King and Joe Hill to find a way. They have transformed an otherwise innocuous Kansas field into a stage for some of the most disturbing horror fiction I have ever read.

Well, this is all very exciting. We'll update this as soon as we know more!

IT

Andy Muschietti (Mama) has stepped in to direct this film after Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) dropped out of the production a few weeks before filming was set to begin back in 2015. Now filming is scheduled for Summer 2016. 

The plan has been to split IT into a pair of movies, and producer Roy Lee toldCollider that the project will "hopefully be shooting later this year," adding, "We just got the California tax credit. Gary Dauberman (Annabelle) wrote the most recent draft working with Andy Muschietti, so it’s being envisioned as two movies."

Fukunaga co-wrote the original script with Chase Palmer (Neo-Noir) and David Kajganich (The Invasion). The films will be produced by New Line Cinema.

So why did Fukunaga exit the project? The adaptation was always going to be split up into two movies, but reports say New Line was thinking about slashing the budget to one. Fukunaga was reportedly adamant about making two separate films. As Stephen King said, in IT, “You pay for what you get, you own what you pay for... and sooner or later whatever you own comes back home to you.” 

Will Poulter, a 22 year old actor who was in We're The Millers and who can next be seen in Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant, was cast as Pennywise in the IT remake. IT director Cary Fukunaga had previously expressed some concern about finding the right actor for Pennywise, but was apparently "blown away" by Poulter's audition. 

That said, Poulter recently expressed a little doubt that he would still play the character after Fukunaga left the film:

"I don't know. I don't know," he said. “I was once when Mr Fukunaga was directing, but the circumstances at New Line are such that a new director's attached now. I think, with all due respect to him of course, I was selected by Cary and subscribed to Cary's vision for the movie, and so I haven't had a chance to connect with that (new) director. Of course, I have a relationship with New Line so I'm grateful to them for taking a chance on me -- both for We're The Millers and IT. But my involvement remains to be seen."

Pennywise the Clown is one of the most terrifying and evil characters King has ever created. Taking the shape of a clown named Pennywise, IT eats little children and manipulates them into doing his bidding. IT's been around for centuries, returning every three decades to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine -- one of King's favorite places to have everyone murdered.

The Jaunt

According to Deadline, Stephen King's sci-fi short story about teleportation gone wrong, "The Jaunt," is being optioned for film by Plan B, Brad Pitt's production company.

Andy Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti, the duo behind the 2013 horror film Mama, are attached to the project. Andy will direct the film. No studio has been set for the film, but Plan B has a first-look deal with New Regency and RatPac Entertainment. 

"The Jaunt" takes place in the 24th century. Teleportation between worlds is now possible. The only catch is that travelers must be under anethesia, so that they're not conscious for the trip. Being awake is bad news. You can probably guess what happens. 

The story was first published in 1981 in Twilight Zone Magazine, and it was later collected in 1985's Skeleton Crew, his second short story collection. It's a short little sci-fi tale and definitely worth the read. Don't wait for the movie!

Joyland

Joyland is the second of two paperbacks King has written for the Hard Case Crime series. The first is called The Colorado Kid and it's now a show called Haven on the Syfy channel.

Being part of a series of pulp books, King puts on his retro hat to spin out a yarn that takes places in 1973. Devin Jones is a college student who takes a job at Joyland, a carnival with a dark legacy. Devin is quickly thrust into a whodunit, as he races to find the person responsible for the grisly murders that have taken place throughout the carnival's history.

Tate Taylor (Winter's Bone) is directing and adapting the screenplay. Wyolah Films is producing. The film was originally aiming for a 2015 release, but the film is still in pre-production as of this writing.

Lisey's Story

This is one of those King novels you just don't see coming. A captivating supernatural love story, Lisey's Story is about a widow who must confront the absence of her late writer husband by traveling into an alternate world called "Boo'ya Moon" where her husband has left her a final gift to remember him by. She also has to escape a stalker who was obsessed with her husband and is now preying on her.

King writes a complex story about marriage, writing, mental illness, death, memory, and family history that really proves this guy can write about anything. Lisey's Story is certainly one of the best books of his later years.

Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is attached to write and direct the feature film, which was slated for a 2015 release, but is currently floating in development hell now that Boone has bigger fish to fry with Revival and The Stand

RELATED ARTICLE: Stephen King's Greatest Human Villains

The Long Walk

Suffer the teenage boys. That's pretty much what King (writing as Richard Bachman -- his infamous and much more vicious alter-ego) is all about in this novel. The Long Walk takes place in a dystopian future where the totalitarian government of the USA makes 100 teenage boys participate in a sick televised contest: a walking contest that only one kid will survive.

If you guessed that anyone who isn't the winner is shot dead by the army or dies of thirst/fatigue, then you guessed right. If you don't keep moving forward, you die.

Frank Darabont, super frequent King collaborator, has secured the rights and is planning a low-budget film. This has the potential to be a home run. Fun fact: this was the first novel King ever wrote, but he failed to publish until many years later.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Stephen King's The Running Man Was Ahead of Its Time

Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes, King's 2014 novel about a retired police detective who is being stalked by a killer, is currently being developed for TV. The premise is very primetime broadcast television, right? Nah, let's give the novel more credit than that. It's still King writing at his very creepiest, as the hardboiled mystery unfolds page after page. 

The novel will be adapted by David E. Kelley (The Practice) and Jack Bender (Under the Dome), who will also act as executive producers on the show. Kelley will write the pilot and Bender will direct. 

King is excited 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."


The Mist

Spike has picked up a new TV series based on Stephen King's novella The Mist, originally published in horror anthology Dark Forces in 1980 and later re-edited for his second story collection Skeleton Crew. The novella also became a film in 2007 from frequent collaborator Frank Darabont, starring Thomas Jane. 

The show is being written by Christian Torpe, who created the Danish series Rita, which is currently in its fourth season. Torpe is moving forward with the horror project with King's blessing.

“The terror and drama in Stephen King’s novella are so vast that we felt serialized television is the best place to explore them in greater depth,” said Bob Weinstein, co-chairman The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films. “With this show, Christian has created a fascinating band of characters and a story with infinite scares.”

Dimension TV’s Megan Spanjian, Matthew Signer and Keith Levine are producing.

The Mist is the story of a small Maine town that is engulfed in a mysterious mist, which ushers in supernatural terrors beyond the characters' wildest imaginations. It's a great, classicist monster story, and made a decent enough film. Does the novella have enough depth to support a TV series, though? We'll have to wait and see.

The Overlook Hotel

We all know how King feels about Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (he hates it, believe it or not), so here's a chance for Hollywood to redeem itself with King for the past "blunder." And what better way to make up for a "botched" adaptation than to follow it up with a prequel decades later...? Not sure what the plot will contain, but we figure it has something to do with a bunch of new guests of the haunted hotel. Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) is making this prequel for Warner Bros. and Mythology Entertainment. 

Pet Sematary

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) is directing this one from a script by Jeff Buhler (Midnight Meat Train). Speaking to horror blog Dread Central, Jeff Buhler teased the new take on the classic Stephen King novel:

This is pretty far from the 1980’s film, which I adore for certain things that are very intrinsic to that time period in terms of the genre, like a truck driver smoking a joint to a Ramones song. But when a little kid comes back with a scalpel and is like, ‘I want to play with you,’ it kind of becomes Chucky. With this one, we really wanted to get into the emotional aspects of it. There’s still plenty of visceral horror that’s explored, but I’ve always felt that if you lean more into the characters and into their emotional lives, when the visceral shit hits the fan, it’s ten times more scary.

ZOMBIE PETS. ANCIENT NATIVE AMERICAN BURIAL GROUNDS. CANNIBALISM. THE WENDIGO -- a demon that haunts the forest beyond the pet cemetery. Guys, who the hell thought it would be a good idea to bury all the dead cats together? CATS! King builds up a terrible situation until the gruesome explosion of horror by movie's end.

David Kajganich (The Invasion) wrote the first draft of a screenplay before Paramount turned writing duties to Matthew Greenberg (1408). Producers Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Transformers) and Mark Vahradian (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) are on board to guide the project.

Revival

According to Deadline, Josh Boone, The Fault in Our Stars director who plans to helm a film adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, will first adapt another King novel - the more recent Revival, the 2014 novel about a preacher turned faith healer who opens up a portal to a much darker place than he could possibly imagine. Mixing the work of horror writer and mystic Arthur Machen with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,Revival is a horrific treat among King's more contemporary offerings. 

Producer Michael De Luca and King himself are on board with Boone's latest project, and the director has already submitted the script to Universal, who has first-look rights for an adaptation of the novel. Boone plans to make this film before he sets out for The Stand, which will take much longer to make, since it's a sprawling novel with a very high word count and multiple storylines. The director will need a lot of time to make this one right. 

Revival, in comparison, is on a much smaller scale, although later moments in the film will undoubtedly provide a pretty big challenge for Boone, especially when adapting the final third of the book. Boone said of the project:

When I read Revival, I was like, man, did you write this for me? I’d been on both sides of that pendulum. I call myself a non-believer, now, and when I moved to LA, it was like Neo being pulled out of the Matrix. Oh, my god, none of that stuff is true! But it was what I’d been taught and what I believed in since childhood. I believed in the devil, in Jesus, and even now as a non-believer, I’m still fascinated by that world and Revival is the scariest thing he’s written since Pet Sematary

EW is reporting that Samuel L. Jackson has been cast in the movie. 

Jackson, who's also in another upcoming movie based on the work of Stephen King, Cell, will play preacher Charles Jacobs in Revival. In the novel, Jacobs discovers a "miraculous" way to cure people's ailments by using electricity in his increasingly strange experiments. In the process, Jacobs, in true King fashion, unlocks a power even he can't control...

No word on the rest of the cast or a release date just yet, but we'll keep you updated!

Rose Madder

In retrospect, this is one of King's least favorite novels. Why? Probably because it's too conventional for King, even though the subject is very serious -- domestic violence. Wife has a terrible life with husband, so she runs away and starts a new life. But husband is on her trail to get her back. Feels like a Lifetime movie for a bit until the supernatural painting shows up, but even that seems a bit conventional for King in a weird way. It's the first time readers start to see the cracks in King's formula. Was he running out of monsters? Anyways, the movie is coming. Naomi Sheridan (In America) is working on the screenplay. 

The Shop

Remember when I mentioned that whole business about how cool it would be to start movie franchise revolving around The Shop? Well, they're getting their own TV series thanks to TNT. What is in it's most basic form a sequel to Firestarter, will undoubtedly branch out to tell other Shop stories involving new characters with supernatural powers.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Legend of the Stephen King Dollar Baby

Charlie McGee will be back, once again running from an even more powerful Shop. Luckily, she'll have a guy named Henry Talbot, a former Shop employee, to guide her through her life as a fugitive. 

The project is written by Robbie Thompson (Supernatural) and produced by James Middleton (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Jaime Paglia (Eureka) and Thompson.

The Stand

Josh Boone is directing and writing this one, too, although it's been delayed while Boone tackles the more standalone (and manageable) Revival movie.

Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars), who has already worked with Boone, is rumored to be in the cast. Boone originally handed a treatment of the film to WB that proposed a one-film adaptation for an estimated budget of $87 million. As of Nov. 20, he suggested (or confirmed, depending on how much you like to believe from Hollywood) on Kevin Smith's Babble-On podcast that WB wanted him to turn the book into a series of four films. Apparently, Boone even got King's approval.

Interestingly enough, King told MTV in October that this adaptation will take more than one film to complete. There's even talk that there might even be an 8-part miniseries before the movie hits theaters. Could this turn out to be an epic big-and-small screen franchise? It's certainly long enough.

A superflu called "Captain Trips" wipes out most of the world's population in King's mangum opus. It's all about surviving the apocalypse for the main characters in this monstrous novel. But it's not just a pandemic the survivors have to worry about. There's real evil out there. Enter Randall Flagg, the most notorious villain in the King universe. The evil wizard hippie dude has shown up in many of King's books and stories to f*** things up for the main characters. But The Stand is the best of those books, a true examination of good and evil.

The Talisman

This is a fan favorite, which makes the lack of a big screen adaptation all the more surprising. The novel, written in collaboration with Peter Straub (Ghost Story), is about a boy who travels into another dimension to find a crystal known as "The Talisman," which could save his mother from dying of cancer. Boom! Story that will pull at your heart strings? Check. Add King's unique flair for the supernatural and endless bank of monsters, and you have one of the best adventure stories ever.

This adaptation has been in development hell for quite some time. Steven Spielberg was attached to produce a TV series at some point, but that fell through back in 2006. Frank Marshall (Raiders of the Lost Ark) is now trying to turn this novel into a feature film. 

The Ten O'Clock People

This one's a little weird, and probably has a little to do with King's own life: a select few people who decide to quit smoking suddenly discover they have the ability to see that many of our world leaders are actually monsters disguised as people. It has something to do with a chemical imbalance. Either way, only King could come up with something like this. The film adaptation should be interesting. Tom Holland (Fright Night) is directing and writing the screenplay. Jay Baruchel (This Is The End) and Julie Browen star. Kathy Bates (Misery) and King himself are also rumored to appear. This film was slated for a 2015 release, but there hasn't been a word on the film since the original announcement. 

The Things They Left Behind

As if Greg Berlanti weren't busy enough with Arrow, The Flash, and the newly-announced Supergirl TV series, now CBS has announced that Berlanti, along with Seth Grahame-Smith (author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), are working on the put pilot for a new series based on Stephen King's short story "The Things They Left Behind," which was originally published in the psychological thriller compilation Trangsressions Vol. 2.

Berlanti will produce along with David Katzenberg and Grahame-Smith, who is also penning the pilot for CBS. The network has seen large success with Under the Dome, another series based on King's work. This new series will tell the story of "two investigators carrying out the unfinished business of the dead," according to Deadline.

The original short story doesn't quite go that way, instead dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 and one survivor's guilt over the deaths of his co-workers. In true King fashion, something weird begins to unfold in the man's apartment building. Random objects that belonged to those who died on 9/11 begin to appear in his aparment. The man must figure out the meaning of this phenomenon. 

Do you have a scoop on a new Stephen King book or TV show in development? Let us know in the comments and we will continue to update this list! Until then, Constant Readers, stay tuned to Den of Geek for all your Stephen King news!

For more Stephen King, visit our coverage hub!

Nick Harley contributed reporting.

John Saavedra's first Stephen King book was Eyes of the Dragon. Discuss it with him on Twitter!