PART 3 – The Gingerbread Girl, The Mist and The Talisman 3
"Well, I’d never say never. I would think about it if
it ever came up but so far it hasn’t."
"The ending was obviously gonna be controversial but
he had to put an ending to it"
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Lilja: Some time ago there were also talks about a movie version of The Dark Tower by J.J. Abrams?
Stephen King: Yeah, I think they are still interested in that but you know for me it was a way of actually… how can I say this… it was a way of stopping a lot of requests and a lot of speculations I was getting from people. I’d get calls from producers “Have you sold this? Have you thought about selling this?” Fans would write and try to cast the movie, got this one to play Roland and that one… and all that stuff so… J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse who are the people that do LOST came up to Maine and we had a roundtable discussion that Entertainment Weekly put on and Maine was the logical place to do it because I live there and J.J’s wife comes from Brewer which is right across the river from where I live so… we started to talk about The Dark Tower and they expressed an interest and based off what I had seen of LOST they were just the people to do it and whether or not it ever gets made is another question because it would have to be something that would bend over an arc of many movies and in the case of The Lord of the Rings and the C.S. Lewis Narnia series… those experiments in what I call long form movies, long form cinema, has been very successful but then people tried the Philip Pullman thing, his dark material and that was a flop so it’s risking a lot of money on a format that’s very iffy so we’ll see if anything happens but in the meantime I don’t have to answer as many questions as I used to.
Lilja: What is your gut feeling about it? Could it be transformed into a movie?
Stephen King: Yeah, sure.
Lilja: I guess it was about the same time that you had the meeting with the people from LOST that there were a rumor that you were going to write an episode for LOST.
Stephen King: [laughs] Just rumors. I mean they got that pretty well in hand. There is a guy called Brian K. Vaughan who’s a comic guy that has done some work for them and his been terrific. I think they got that well in hand.
Lilja: So you don’t feel the urge to try?
Stephen King: Well, I’d never say never. I would think about it if it ever came up but so far it hasn’t.
Lilja: Is there any other TV series that you felt like writing an episode for like you did with The X-Files?
Stephen King: Well, with The X-Files… that was kind of a strange experience because I was re-written so heavily by Chris Carter that it was really very odd, a very odd experience. I don’t know whether, was it William Gibson who did an episode of The X-Files as well… one of those cyberpunk writers did one and I just wondered… I always thought I’d like to get in touch with him to find out what his experience was with Carter because I got re-written pretty exhaustively. You know I like TV and I like long form but as far as actually writing an episode of a show… I can’t think of anything that is on TV right now that would interest me that way.
Lilja: It must be hard to write about characters that already have their history and you have to adapt very much to what’s already happened.
Stephen King: Well it can be fun…
Stephen King: No question about that but I’m more interested in original stuff I’d say.
Lilja: Speaking of original stuff, you’re also working with John Mellencamp on the musical The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.
Stephen King: It looks like it’s actually going to be an out of town… We’re gonna get this play up and running probably in April 2009. We’re going to do another workshop this summer in New York, put the finishing touches on it and somewhere, probably on the east coast maybe Miami or Atlanta somewhere down south it’ll be on next April I think, quite sure of that.
Lilja: Do you plan to release it as a DVD or something for people not living in the US?
Stephen King: [laughs] Ah, it’s very hard to say, with almost every show that actually makes it to Broadway there is a soundtrack album so it would be that and I can very easily visualize a soundtrack album that had the playbook bound into it but it’s really too early to say.
Lilja: What else are you working on now? Is the new book taking up all your time or…
Stephen King: Yeah, it’s basically the new book. I don’t wanna talk about it because it always feels like bad luck to do that but it’s a long book and it’s set in Maine, not Florida, and I think that it’s OK so far.
Lilja: In the past you have also written some scripts based on your books…
Stephen King: Yeah…
Lilja: Is that something you enjoy?
Stephen King: Sometimes… I wouldn’t wanna say that I really enjoy it but I did a script for The Gingerbread Girl and that is in what I would call development hell right now. It’s basically in the hands of Craig Baxley who directed Storm of the Century and Rose Red and Mark Carliner who produced The Shining miniseries and some of those other things and I would like to see that as a theatrical. I think it would make a good movie. Offers are out to various actors and actresses so now that the strike is over maybe something will happen or maybe nothing will happen. You just never know.
Lilja: Is it easier to write a script if you do it like with Storm of the Century, an original script or is it easier to base a script on a book?
Stephen King: I think originals are always easier and I think that scripts that are adapted are always easier when they are based on shorter works and I think those actually turn out a little bit better. I think that both The Mist and 1408 from last year are really good movies and both are based on shorter works. When you get a long book it’s kinda like trying to stuff everything into a suitcase and that can be very difficult. Duma Key has been optioned for movies and it may actually become a movie but I was surprised that it happened because it’s a story that has so much plot in it, it would really have to be simplified. Lisey’s Story on the other hand would make a great TV miniseries if it was done in the right way.
Stephen King: What are you watching now?
Lilja: I’m actually watching LOST. We’re a couple of episodes behind you but that’s an interesting show.
Stephen King: Yeah, it is. It’s interesting, it’s an interesting show, has interesting format and… yeah, it’s good.
Lilja: It’s going to be very interesting to see how they will tie it all up in the end.
Stephen King: You know what? I think they will actually be able to.
Lilja: Yeah? I hope so.
Speaking about The Mist. I just saw it recently and I must say that it’s a really good movie.
Stephen King: Yeah, I think it is.
Lilja: It really survived very well in the transformation from story to movie. What are your feelings about Frank’s new ending?
Stephen King: I thought it was good. The ending was obviously gonna be controversial but he had to put an ending to it, the story really doesn’t have an ending. Before it could become a movie it had to be tied up. He couldn’t just leave them there on the road which is what I did. And he became more and more convinced that the ending should be what the ending was when he did it. And originally it looked like it was going to be a Paramount movie and that they were gonna make it for a big budget, you know like I am Legend money, like 80 million, 90 million dollars but they wanted Frank to change the ending before they would do that. And Frank tried a number of different things, God bless him…I mean there is nothing wrong with that guy’s heart or his willingness to work with other people, and none of it really rang true, nothing really worked so eventually he did the deal with The Weinstein’s for Dimension Films. And they said “yes we’ll go ahead and do it your way but we’ll only go in for like 17 million dollars” so they kinda shot it quick and dirty.
Lilja: Yeah, and I think that was good for this one.
Stephen King: Yeah, I think so too. One thing that is interesting is that when the DVD comes out, which is fairly soon now, there’s going to be two versions. There’ll be the version that was released in theatres and there’ll be another one that will be in black and white.
Lilja: Yeah, that one should be interesting.
Stephen King: Yeah, that’s kind of the way that he wanted to do it from the very beginning. That will be interesting.
Lilja: I just have one more question and then I’ll let you go.
Stephen King: OK…
Lilja: What about The Talisman 3? Any news on that?
Stephen King: [laughs] You mean the third section?
Stephen King: Well, I talk to Peter about it and the real problem isn’t working with Peter because I love to work with Peter and we actually have a really good idea for this book and I’m sure it’ll happen in time but right now what it would mean is backing off and rereading those first two books and getting kinda back into the groove a bit and that’s the part that’s kinda holding me back, that’s daunting. That’s a lot of story there to beat around with, to work around so…
Lilja: It’s about the same as when you were doing the last three Dark Tower books; you had to read up on them…
Stephen King: That’s exactly what I was thinking of, yeah…
Lilja: I hope it won’t be too long though…
Stephen King: This was great, I’ll talk to you again.
Lilja: Yeah, I hope we can do this again.
Stephen King: OK, take care.
If you want to comment or discuss this interview, please mail me.
PART 1 – Duma Key and a really long new book
PART 2 – Just Past Sunset, The Dark Tower and The Stand
Copyright (c) 2008, Lilja's Library. All rights reserved. Larger parts of this interview may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission from Lilja's Library.
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