While on location in New Mexico a couple of weeks back for Dark Lot’s LIVING HELL, actor/scriptwriter Johnathon (THE FORSAKEN) Schaech was more than happy to tell Fango about the two Stephen King movie scripts and MASTERS OF HORROR teleplay he’s done with partner Richard Chizmar of CEMETERY DANCE. “Richard and I have written THE BLACK HOUSE, the sequel to THE TALISMAN, for [producer] Akiva Goldsman,” Schaech reveals. “It’s interesting, because we don’t know what’s going to happen with THE TALISMAN [movie] right now. It’s gone through so many writers and directors, as all King fans know, and I hear all kinds of rumors. So our script had to stand on its own as well as be a sequel to THE TALISMAN. Richard and I did a very faithful adaptation [of the King/Peter Straub novel], and Akiva loved it.”
If produced, the BLACK HOUSE film will use visuals in the opening scenes to explain what has gone on before. “It does stand on its own, but it also ties in beautifully through the imagery—even to THE DARK TOWER series,” Schaech explains. “There is a lot of interest in it, but it depends on what happens with THE TALISMAN.”
Goldsman took interest in Schaech and Chizmar after reading their miniseries script based on King’s 2003 novel FROM A BUICK 8. “It’s mystical and doesn’t explain itself,” Schaech says of that project. “It’s a metaphor, and we tried to explain that in the screenplay. It has a deeper meaning, and it’s a little harder for people to digest. It really is a masterpiece, and most people don’t seem to realize that.” Helping to launch the potential BUICK miniseries is Mick (THE STAND) Garris, no stranger to King films. “Mick is a wonderful guy, and we’ve been talking a lot recently,” Schaech notes. “One of the networks is interested, and they’ve talked to King some. We’ll see what happens there, too.” In a separate interview, Garris admitted his BUICK interest to Fango: “It’s something I’d be interested in being involved in, in one capacity or another. They wrote a really great script for it.”
The Garris connection doesn’t stop there for Schaech and Chizmar, though: The duo have also penned a script for the second season of Showtime’s MASTERS OF HORROR. “We adapted this great Bentley Little piece called ‘The Washingtonians,’ ” Schaech reveals. “It’s so much fun, and it should be a great episode. We pitched a bunch of ideas to Mick and the guys over at Showtime, and they loved the one based on Little’s short story. I think we wrote a really good screenplay, and I’m excited by it.” Adds Garris, “We’re working on finding the right director for it. I’m really hoping we do it this season, as it’s a great script and a great story.”
Schaech began writing screenplays while on location for various movies he’s done, and then decided to team with Chizmar. “I’m not a master of horror, but Richard really knows his stuff,” the actor says. “I’m really respectful toward anything I attach myself to in the horror genre. When I met Richard, we decided to really get involved and be very serious scriptwriters. We want to try to make an art and craft of it.”
The busy team have also adapted Douglas Clegg’s novel THE HOUR BEFORE DARK for possible production at MGM/Sony, plus Ed Gorman’s thriller THE POKER CLUB. As with the King screenplays, Schaech says, “Hopefully HOUR BEFORE DARK will get off the ground sometime soon. And we’ll have to see what happens with POKER CLUB.”
Thanks to Bev Vincent.